Two Key Defensive Lineman Head to NFC South Rivals
Free agency is officially up on Saints fans. We may have hit the market with a splash as we secured our next franchise quarterback in Derek Carr, but we aren’t the only one looking at the free agency market. Players are also testing out the market, including one of our own in David Onyemata. The Saints drafted the dependable defensive tackle in the fourth round of the 2016 draft with the 120th overall pick. Onyemata has played a consistent role on the interior of that defensive line and was a big reason why the Saints have had a top-run defense over the last few seasons. The Saint’s defensive line was once their strong suit is being looked at as an area they need to address in the draft. This seems like the case now as David Onyemata and Shy Tuttle are leaving New Orleans to join divisional opponents.
That’s right Saints’ fans, David Onyemata is headed to the dirty birds in what looks like a great deal for him. During his seven seasons with the Saints, Onyemata recorded 244 tackles 23 sacks, and one interception. The veteran inked a three-year $35 million deal with $24.5 million of it fully guaranteed. According to the general consensus, the Saints liked Onyemata but were nowhere close to matching that deal.
Makes sense considering the Saints signed Just signed Derek Carr to a $70 million (fully guaranteed money) deal and are still actively restructuring contracts to stay under the salary cap. If losing Onyemata Wasn’t bad enough for the Saints' defensive line, news broke shortly after that yet another veteran was heading to a division rival.
The Saints picked up Tuttle as an undrafted free agent after the 2019 NFL draft. Tuttle was another key role player on a Saints defensive line that was ranked among the best-rushing defense in the league. During his 4 seasons with the Saints, he recorded 148 tackles, five sacks, and one interception. You might remember his one interception well as it ended with him sending Matt Ryan into the ground.
The Saints’ one area of concern on the defensive side of the ball last season was their defensive line as bigger backs like Patterson gashed them up them the middle, so losing a veterans like Onyemata and Tuttle is a huge blow. Many experts have the Saints drafting a defensive tackle with the 29th overall pick in the draft, maybe this loss further cements that decision.
Regardless of where Onyemata and Tuttle have decided to spend the next chapter of their careers, I personally would like to thank the two veterans for all of their hard work and dedication. It’s been fun watching you as a Saint, good luck David Onyemata and Shy Tuttle.