Saints won’t extend Vilma, to detriment of NY teams

Had New Orleans resigned linebacker Jonathan Vilma to a long-term contract extension this season, or even shortly thereafter, two New York teams would have benefited.

First, the conditional fourth-round pick the Saints traded to the Jets for Vilma would have become a second-round pick.

And if that Vilma trade with the Jets had involved a second-round pick, then the Saints would have been forced to compensate the New York Giants with a first-round pick for tight end Jeremy Shockey.

But New Orleans can exhale. The Saints did not re-sign Vilma, and will not attempt to do so until he becomes a free agent, thus the value the Jets and Giants receive now can be determined.

The conditional fourth-round pick the Saints traded to the Jets for Vilma will become a third-round pick in 2009. The Jets used the Saints fourth-round pick in 2008, but they will have to return a fourth-round pick to New Orleans this April.

And while the Jets get the Saints third-round pick, the Giants will get New Orleans’ second-round pick for Shockey.

So the Saints now are scheduled to have their first-round pick, and two fourth-round picks, with no second- or third-round picks.

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