With every team down to its initial 53-man roster, here’s a listing of the youngest to the oldest rosters in the NFL. This includes all players listed as Active or Reserve/COVID-19 on their respective team websites. pic.twitter.com/HwhCUaBzQC
— Andrew Walker (@AWalkerColts) September 1, 2021
There are still some roster moves in the works as the New Orleans Saints continue to tweak things, but for now the average age of their players ranks 21st across the NFL — clocking in at 25.962, or just under 26 years old.
Some of New Orleans’ best and brightest fit in that age range: Marshon Lattimore, Marcus Williams, Erik McCoy, Deonte Harris, C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Marquez Callaway, Zack Baun, and Marcus Davenport are all 26 or younger. Alvin Kamara celebrated his 26th birthday in late July.
That feels significant, but it’s all relative when you consider the greater scope of teams around the league. The difference between the Saints at No. 21 (25.962) and the last-place Tampa Bay Buccaneers (27.018) is 1.056, which is 127% larger than the 0.83-gap between New Orleans and the NFL-youngest New York Jets (25.132).
But how does it compare to the other teams in the NFC South? The actively rebuilding Atlanta Falcons (25.906) and Carolina Panthers (25.245) are both slightly younger than New Orleans and Tampa Bay, but not by much. There just isn’t great variance across the league. 22 of the NFL’s 32 teams are 25 years or younger on average.
So let’s focus on New Orleans’ specific situation. Last year, they were one of the league’s oldest squads on average — clocking in at 26.7 years, per the Philly Voice’s Jimmy Kempski. The Saints relied on over-30 talents like Drew Brees, Janoris Jenkins, Emmanuel Sanders, Thomas Morstead, Jared Cook and Josh Hill, none of whom are still on the roster. That exodus dropped the team’s average, and we should expect them to continue to get younger in the future.
More departures are on the horizon. Left tackle Terron Armstead turned 30 this summer and will be a free agent in 2022. Key defenders like Malcolm Jenkins, Cameron Jordan, and Demario Davis are all over 30; so are Taysom Hill and Latavius Murray, and backup safety Jeff Heath. With inevitable roster turnover on the way, the post-Brees Saints are only going to continue to change and get younger.
Is that really a good thing? Playing more young guys on affordable rookie contracts is great for the team’s cap situation, but the sky-high level of play that Armstead, Jenkins, Jordan, Davis, and other veterans have provided is tough to replace. Without Brees and all those other respected voices in the locker room, you’ve got to wonder how the team responds to adversity. We’ll find out soon enough.
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