March 3, 2007

Notes: Saints Retain Starting Offensive Lineup

Right tackle Stinchcomb re-signed after briefly hitting market; Saints busy interviewing

Stinchcomb Re-Ups: A new two-year deal for RT Jon Stinchcomb was inked a day after free agency opened. The four-year Saint has really played in only one season, starting all 18 games last year after appearing in only 10 games the three seasons prior.

The first move by the Saints in the 2007 free agency season is retaining one of their own. The team has now successfully plucked four of their own starters off the free agent market. Only strong safeties Jay Bellamy and Omar Stoutmire are 2006 starters currently on the market.

Stinchcomb's new two-year deal was signed Saturday night, a $7 million year deal that includes $5 million in the starter's pocket through salary and signing bonus in year one.

Stinchcomb languished in obscurity for three years after being drafted in the second round in 2003. But given his first shot at a starting role, despite rehabbing from a torn patellar tendon suffered in training camp 2005, Stinchcomb grabbed the right tackle job in training camp 2006 and refused to give it up. His steady, quietly efficient play is exactly what the Saints expected, even if it took three years to find a return on the former Georgia Bulldog.

Starting at right tackle because Pro Bowler Jammal Brown has the left tackle job buttoned down, Stinchcomb could play left tackle or guard for many teams.

The Saints starting offensive line, all under contract through next season, allowed only 23 sacks in 2006.

Holland, Colorado: Former Saints starter guard Montrae Holland, the former fourth round pick from Florida State, has signed with the Broncos. A much better run blocker than pass defender, Holland's stock as an immediate starter sank with the new coaching staff because of weight and knee injury issues, the same injury issues that moved his stock from late first to early second day before April 2004.

Stinchcomb, the former second round pick out of Georgia is the only member of the 2004 draft class left on the team. DT Johnathan Sullivan, LB Cie Grant, Holland, DE Melvin Williams, and receivers Kareem Kelly and Talman Gardner have all left the Saints, one way or another, in the fewer than 36 months since the 2004 draft.

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