The Saints are over the cap and they are going to have to make some tough decisions. The defense was terrible and the coordinator has been under attack from an anonymous source. I am guessing that they anonymous source is someone about to be cut.
DE - Will Smith is due a huge salary this year and will not be back, at least not at that price. Cameron Jordan was their best and steadiest DE and he is still developing. Junior Gallete showed promise and deserves to be back. I loved Romeus coming out of college and thought he would be a great addition but he cannot stay healthy. Martez Wilson does not seem to have the bulk to be anything more than a situational pass rusher. When he played, he often got pushed around. I think he will have a hard time sticking this year. Turk McBride is a decent backup but he is a free agent. He will only be back at a low price. The team needs help here. It would not shock me to see them spend a 1st round draft pick at DE but I hope they wait until the second round where there will be a lot of value. Two options are: Datone Jones, Margus Hunt, The only free agent that intrigues me is Osi Umenyiora, who spent years with Spags.
DT - This may be the worst position on the team. Sedrick Ellis will be gone. His play was terrible and he showed no effort this year. Brodrick Bunkley played well at times but he had not one to play next to. Akiem Hicks showed promise but he is a long way from making major contributions. He will need at least another year of seasoning. Hicks should be the 3rd DT next year. Tom Johnson is a good 4th DT. He knows his role. The Saints need to draft a DT in round 1. Ideally, the Saints will be able to grab Johnathan Hankins. If not, I would grab Richardson or trade back. There is no other option but to draft a stud.
LB - Here is another mess on defense. We will build around Curtis Lofton. He is a problem in coverage but he is close to what Vilma used to be. The starting MLB is set. As for Vilma, he is not what he was and he will be cut because of his high salary. I really think he will be back for little more than the minimum. He will at least backup on the outside with the possibility of starting. Will Herring will be cut. Jonathan Casillas is a free agent and will most likely seek employment elsewhere. He had a few nice games toward the end of the season but nothing special. Chris Chamberlain and David Hawthorne were brought in because they knew the Spags system. They were never healthy enough to show what they can do. They will be back but they better be healthy for camp or they are gone. Scott Shanle, the slowest LB in the league, is gone. The Saints will draft at least 1 LB but probably not until the 4th round. They will have to sign some free agents to fill out their roster. They will be looking at the guys like Chase Blackburn, Justin Durant, Thomas Howard, Manny Lawson, DeAndre Levy, Daryl Smith.
CB - Let me be the first (or maybe the 100th, I have no idea), the Saints should trade Patrick Robinson. He is a younger Antonio Cromartie. He goes for the flashy plays and misses half of them. Take what you can get in draft picks (maybe a 3rd rounder) and run. Jabari Greer is not a number 1 anymore but with such a poor pass rush up front, it is hard to tell what he has left. Promote Corey White to the #2 spot. He was the best CB on the team and the biggest surprise. Elbert Mack played nicely down the stretch and teams were actually throwing more to P-Rob than Elbert Mack when they were both playing together. Mack is a free agent and should be resigned. Johnny Patrick is cheap, so we can bring him back and hopefully develop him more. As the 5th CB, he is fine. The Saints need to bring in another FA to fill out the roster. Some guys to look at are: Zachary Bowman, Chris Johnson, Kennan Lewis, Leodis McKelvin, Captain Munnerlyn, Ryan Mouton, Tracy Porter, Aqib Talib, Cary Williams, Greg Toler. Sam Shields is a RFA and since he was not drafted, there would not be much compensation. As you can see, there are a number of FA's out there at varying price points that could help the Saints. They could use a free agent instead of a rookie.
S - Here is another painful cut as the Saints should say goodbye to Roman Harper. He is not worth the money and really Rafael Bush would seem to have played almost as well as he did. Bush is an ERFA and will be back. He looked good and might have a chance to start. Malcolm Jenkins will be back on the other side and behind him, Isa Abdul-Quddus played well enough that it would not surprise me that Jenkins plays out his contract and moves on. That leaves us with a depth issue. We will probably draft someone and bring in a free agent. Some guys out there are: Yeremiah Bell, David Bruton, Abram Elam, William Moore.