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Tuesday, 26 July 2011 11:07
Saints Now In Big “D” With Reggie Bush, Free Agency Now NFL Season Here
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Reggie BushNow that the NFL season is beginning, some big decisions must be made for all teams including the New Orleans Saints. But first, a look at the Players-Owners agreement since the the battle of the football haves and have-nots came to a close on Monday. The player reps for all 32 teams unanimously agreed to accept the owners' proposal for a 10-year collective bargaining agreement.

The deal:

* Teams will have to spend at least 99 per cent of the salary cap ($120 million) this season and next and they must dish out 95 per cent in future years.

* No "expense reductions" by the team owners. The league kept money off the top in previous years before revenue ($9.3 billion) was split with the players. That figure could climb to $20 million in five years.

* Significant reductions in offseason workouts and limits in on-field practice time and contact during training camp and the regular season.

* Enhanced in jury protection benefits and the ability for current players to stay in the league's medical coverage plan during their lifetime.

* Money set aside for medical research and health-care programs -- as well as a "Legacy Fund," to increase pensions for players who retired before the 1993 season.

Saints owner Tom Benson showed up at the team's training facility and predicted a Super Bowl for his team. Players began showing up at the facility on Tuesday. Their training camp begins on Thursday.

As NFL free agents began their long-awaited gold rush on Tuesday, franchises will be the big winners as usual. Teams will open talks with their players on potential deals before free agency actually begins.

That means decisions must be made in a couple of days. Big decisions. Money decisions. The Saints are $11 under the salary cap.

The Saints and Reggie Bush must decide if he is going to stay here or move on to another team for more money. The Saints are a pass-first team and Bush is a pass-first back. It works, but at what price?

Stay tuned.

The Saints have already signed some undrafted rookie free agents. Here's the list:

* Ryan Colburn, quarterback, Fresno State. Threw for 5,334 yards and 42 touchdowns. Left-hander.

* Kolby Hurt, Missouri State, outside linebacker. Had 54 tackles during career.

* Isa Abdul Qunddus, safety, Fordham. Started out as cornerback but moved to safety as a senior.

* Deandre McDaniel, strong safety, Clemson.  Had 75 tackles and 4 interceptions senior season.

* Dexter Larimore, defensive tackle, Ohio State,.  Had 40 tackles and 4 sacks as senior.

*John Chiles, wide receiver, Illinois.  Had 41 catches for 653 yards and 5 TDs as senior.

* Jeremiha Hunter, Iowa, linebacker. Led team with 90 tackles as senior.

by Ed Staton
Visit Louisiana Sports for your Saints and LSU shirts.

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