Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

05 Aug 2011

Saints To Sign Ex-Bears Center Olin Kreutz

This will keep the Saints from having to bump Matt Tennant to the starting lineup after Jonathan Goodwin's defection to the 49ers. Kreutz reportedly agreed to a $2 million base salary for one year, plus incentives that could double the value of the deal.

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 05 Aug 2011

12 comments, Last at 08 Aug 2011, 4:38pm by Joseph


by tuluse :: Fri, 08/05/2011 - 2:29pm

So 4 million from the bears isn't worth 4 million from the saints. Maybe he just over estimated his worth.

by Marko :: Fri, 08/05/2011 - 2:58pm

Based on his comments, it appears that he also felt that Jerry Angelo didn't really want him to return, although the coaches and players did. Bears at Saints in Week 2 just got even more interesting.

One thing to keep an eye on will be the Saints in the shotgun, which they use a lot. The Bears haven't used that a lot over the years, supposedly in part because Kreutz doesn't feel comfortable doing shotgun snaps.

Interesting coincidence: In the past 30 years, the Bears have had 3 long-time centers: Jay Hilgenberg, Jerry Fontenot and Kreutz. Hilgenberg and Fontenot subsequently played for the Saints, and now Kreutz will do the same.

by Insancipitory :: Fri, 08/05/2011 - 2:57pm

Doesn't play the Detroit Lions D-line 2x a year. And let's face it, late in your career, where do you think your ring chances are better? A black and blue ice bowl division with a dangerous but declining Vikings, a potentially vicious up an coming Lions, world beating potential dynasty Packers, or the Falcons and one also ran, one tragic punchline, joining a team that is potentially as offensively explosive as the Packers?

by akn :: Fri, 08/05/2011 - 5:08pm

You still have to get through the dangerous, vicious, and dynasty-forming teams in the playoffs.

Though I would think the dome would make a significant difference.

Fundamentally, I think it's the enthusiasm gap. In Chicago, Kreutz was known quantity taken for granted. In NO, he's the exciting new player with pro-bowl pedigree filling a position of need. Maybe that's enough to justify the money gap.

by RichC (not verified) :: Fri, 08/05/2011 - 3:34pm

Good luck to the Saints.

I watched a lot of bears football while I was in chicago the last couple of years.

Kreutz isn't nearly what he used to be. He's not particularly good anymore.

Look for a couple fumbles from Brees this year from Kreutz backing into him, throwing the snap over his head, etc.

by trill :: Fri, 08/05/2011 - 4:40pm

Yeah I'm not terribly excited about this signing. I'm sure Kreutz can still handle line calls, but my concern is how the swap will impact the run game. You can't keep everybody, and it's not like there are dozens of starting centers on the market right now, but I wish the team had been a little more proactive in the draft to prepare for this contingency.

Keeping Nicks and Bushrod was more important, but I'm not looking forward to breaking in a new center to start the year.

by Joseph :: Fri, 08/05/2011 - 5:42pm

To trill and others:
It seems pretty well taken for granted that Kreutz will be the starter--but is this for sure? I mean, it seems pretty obvious, and we don't have any info that contradicts this, but couldn't this be a sign-a-quality-backup-who-can-start-if-we-need-him-to situation? From what I've read on NOLA.com, Tennant seems to be doing fine so far. [And while I'm sure that 2nd stringer Chase Daniel will be glad to get his regular center back, that isn't exactly Coach Payton's top priority.]

My POV on this deal: quality teams seem to sign players who, while they are declining in skill, still have a little something left in the tank and can be quality players when they aren't counted on to do what they can't do any more. These (esp. defensive) players come in for 20-30 snaps per game, play a specific role, and help their team with a lot of intangibles and knowledge in spite of their declining physical skills. [See Darren Sharper, 2009 Saints; Seau & Colvin on the Pats a couple of years ago; Tomlinson on the Jets last year; etc.] My bet is that Kreutz may play that role as a BACKUP--although he might be the starter.

[Counter argument--you don't pay that money to a backup center. True, but did the Saints have anybody else to be the backup center? I'm guessing they have a camp body, but Kreutz is better than a no-name UDFA. Coach Payton always gives the job to the best player, not the bigger name.]

by trill :: Sun, 08/07/2011 - 5:32pm

I just read up on Tennant, and your take makes a lot more sense now. Kreutz as backup interior OL is something I'm behind 100%. Tennant certainly has a nice pedigree so if the coaches are excited about him so am I.

With that lineup NO has great depth at OL, DL and RB. Top 5 front office in the league if we're grading offseasons.

by Joseph :: Mon, 08/08/2011 - 4:38pm

About 36 hrs. after posting my comment, I read on NOLA or WWL (don't remember which) that Kreutz was taking most, if not all, the snaps with the first team. I don't care who starts--just that the starter is the better player.
I still stand by my point to Bears' fans who have lamented his play the last one or two years that this is a quality signing by the Saints. The Bears did want him back, and it's not often that you get to sign a 6-time Pro Bowler who was still wanted by his former team.

by akn :: Fri, 08/05/2011 - 5:10pm

I'm anticipating a frustrating amount of new holding calls (along with a couple of personal fouls) for Saints.

by Ambientdonkey :: Fri, 08/05/2011 - 5:34pm

You can't hold if you don't lay a hand on someone.

by Theo :: Sun, 08/07/2011 - 12:59pm

Jets' Ellis is going to NE.