Probably not the “former Raider” you were hoping to read about here, but this is still an outstanding signing for the Saints. They continue to build on the defensive interior which Coach Payton and others listed as a high-priority need ahead of Free Agency. The Saints continue to effectively fill needs in the open market to hit up the draft with a best player available mentality- the way they like it.
Edwards’ contract is set for a bargain two-year deal at only $4.7M total. With guaranteed money being only his $950K signing bonus the Saints have worked wonders around the cap yet again. His cap hit for the 2019 season is only $1.46M. Edwards also gets sack incentives that can add up to $816K, which is less than the $1.5M originally estimated. His 2020 cap hit will bit a little heavier, but the Saints currently sit with an estimated $83.1M in cap space according to overthecap.com. Rod Walker of the Advocate provided the contract details Thursday morning.
This signing should help settle the depth on the interior line though it would make sense for the Saints to continue to bring in later signings for camp to compete. Saints try to carry five interior linemen usually though Jay Bromley ended up on injured reserve in October last year. Saints now have Onyemata, Rankins, Stallworth, Edwards, and Brown on the books. Tyrunn Walker is still a question mark as well but Davison is likely on his way out.
Saints Twitter has gone into a frenzy trying to figure out what position Edwards plays (myself included) and though the answer is pretty clear, it takes some understanding. He played 4-3 defensive end in college as well as on the interior, played 3-4 defensive end and 4-3 DT in Oakland. Those two latter roles are very similar in focus because in the 3-4 formation you’re usually relying on your edge rushing pressure to come from the outside linebackers while the three down linemen focus on the run first. This means that Edwards is basically coming in to fill in on the interior but might be able to bounce outside in a pinch. Edwards also played 103 snaps in 2015 as a ROLB which I imagine lights DA’s eyes considering how much he likes to use versatile linemen.
This signing is said to have very little to do with the potential Ziggy Ansah signing as they will play different positions. Here are Edwards’ snap count percentages from the interior. Bear in mind though that playing on the edge position in a 3-4 as mentioned before is different than 4-3 edge rushing, which is Ansah’s specialty.
2018 84.5%: 232 Total D-Line Snaps, 197 Interior
2017 44.2%: 473 Total D-Line Snaps, 207 Interior
2015 44.7%: 595 Total D-Line Snaps, 266 interior
Our friend Bryan Bienemy also makes a good point when comparing Edwards and potentially suspended DT David Onyemata. It’s also worth mentioning that Edwards arrived in New Orleans Wednesday night, visited Thursday, and signed Friday. This is good news for those who are concerned with the silence on the Jared Cook and Ziggy Ansah front as they both arrived in New Orleans yesterday.
Follow Ross on Twitter @RossJacksonASC