http://www.nola.com/saints/index.ssf/2015/03/kenny_stills_trade_column.htmlSo why would the Saints shop Stills this offseason?
I understand the team's logic in trading Stills to Miami on Friday for the Dolphins' 2015 third-round pick and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, who was a hot commodity during free agency in 2013.
The Saints lost a productive, young wide receiver. But they also gained another NFL draft pick, giving them five selections in the first three rounds for what promises to be a deep pool of rookie wide receivers.
Ellerbe hardly lived up to the five-year, $35 million deal issued by then-Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland, who's now in the Saints' scouting department. I'm assuming Ireland had input and pushed to include Ellerbe in the trade. Ellerbe is reportedly taking a pay cut, so the addition doesn't carry a gigantic cap hit.
This transaction reminds me of when the Saints shipped out Donte' Stallworth, another promising young receiver, in 2006. New Orleans received a fourth-round pick and linebacker Mark Simoneau in exchange for Stallworth, whom Sean Payton wasn't completely sold on.
Stills wasn't given nearly the same amount of developmental time as Stallworth. But Payton certainly gave himself more time to learn about Stills for two seasons.
The Saints felt Stills had maturity issues throughout his tenure in New Orleans despite the increased production in 2014. I'm not sure if the issues were so overwhelming that the Saints were hellbent on unloading him. But the team probably figured Stills would be an attractive piece considering his on-field ability and relatively cheap price tag.
On the surface, this move might puzzle some Saints fans. But there's plenty of logic to it.