Brian Allee-Walsh

There's no free agency to ponder, but there are some good stories out there for Saints fans

Could New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski become Draft Day trade fodder? Rumors abound.
Could New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski become Draft Day trade fodder? Rumors abound. AP Photo
With the 83rd annual NFL draft still several weeks away, things have slowed to a snail's crawl on the free-agent front for the New Orleans Saints.

The team continues to tweak their off-season roster, re-signing two free agents — linebacker Michael Mauti and fullback Zach Line. And while neither transaction will register on the wow! scale, each has the ability to make the final 53 and solidify the bottom third of the roster.
That said, the 2018 roster will be difficult to crack, even for the future eight draft picks currently in the Saints possession. Granted, spots will be made for their Nos. 1 (27th overall) and 3 (91st overall) picks and if team officials can fill pressing needs at edge rusher and No. 2 wide receiver. But don't expect a dramatic change to this roster come September.
Meantime, here are some notes, quotes and anecdotes in anticipation of the draft April 26-28 from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The headline on the Saints' ESPN homepage said it all: "Drew Brees sues jeweler for allegedly cheating him out of $9 million.''
The suit claims Brees purchased multiple jewelry items from a California businessman and those pieces have not appreciated over time as Brees had hoped or was led to believe, including a blue-diamond ring valued at $8.2 million.
The businessman's attorney fired the first salvo, accusing Brees of trying to intimidate his client. "(Brees) should restrict his game-playing to the football field, and refrain from bullying honest, hard-working businessmen like my client.''
Brees hopes to recover at least $9 million from jeweler Vahid Moradi, whom the quarterback has called a "scam artist.''
Two things: This is a gem of a story (pun intended). And two, I was glad to see Brees' 2009 Super Bowl ring isn't part of the story.
It is interesting to see how teams like the Los Angeles Rams and Saints have approached the offseason. Rams' officials are trying to take advantage of their window of opportunity and win now at all costs, even though starting quarterback Jared Goff is entering Year 3. Their latest big-splash move was to acquire dynamic wide receiver Brandon Cooks from the New England Patriots.
In contrast, the Saints are playing it much closer to the vest, declining to overpay or get in a bidding war for several marquee free agents that would address their front-seven needs on defense and at tight end.
Goff is 23 and presumably has a long, bright future. Brees is 39 and certainly has reached the twilight of a brilliant Hall of Fame career.

Both teams want to win Super Bowl LIII. Each team is taking a different tack to get there. Two vastly different approaches in a quarterback-driven league.
When reports first surfaced that Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski might be expendable and could be pried away from the Commonwealth via trade, I thought of the Saints, the good working relationship between coaches Sean Payton and Bill Belichick and the two teams' willingness to make deals.
A healthy, focused and committed Gronkowski would be a godsend for the Saints offense and greatly increase their chances of representing the NFC in Super Bowl LIII.
Just saying.
Brian Allee-Walsh is a long-time Saints reporter based in New Orleans. He can be reached at