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Aubrayo Franklin To Saints: 2011's First Unsettling Free Agency Move

Free agency around the NFC hasn't been all that unkind to the Atlanta Falcons. Nnamdi Asomugha to the Eagles was pretty tough to take, but I'm counting on Philly's 117 new players running into each other's foreheads in Week 2, when the Falcons welcome their avian food chain betters. Seriously, once we reach the point at which we're bowled over when the Eagles sign Ronnie Brown, we're overstating just how good they're doing in free agency.

Elsewhere the Green Bay Packers were one of several teams that lost a couple key pieces. That's pretty good.

And I can certainly handle the Carolina Panthers handing out raises to a 2-14 roster while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers try to make Michael Koenen the richest punter of all time. The New Orleans Saints were probably improved more by losing Reggie Bush than they were by anybody they added. Until today, at least.

Aubrayo Franklin to the Saints? Hold on. According to various stats voodoo, this could give New Orleans the league's best DT pair, and scouts and analysts around the country are impressed. Saints fans are understandably jacked, and we've kind of reached a point at which a team two years shy of a Super Bowl that underachieved in 2010 is underrated and overlooked.

How will a 3-4 tackle fit into a primarily 4-3 defense? The Williams Wall in Minnesota could be an example. It's encouraging that the Saints only signed him to a one-year deal, but the Saints now have defensive line depth that can at worst rival Atlanta's.

The NFC South is the best division in the NFL, Tampa's special teams budget aside. One way or another, all four teams got better. We'll wait and see, but Franklin's addition could give New Orleans' defense about as big a boost as Julio Jones will Atlanta's offense.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.