The Saints' 2021 campaign has been largely a disappointment both for the club and their record breaking membership.
With only five wins on the board at the completion of the bye weeks and an awful run home, the Saints have been forced to scrap short term plans of success and look toward preparation for the 2022 season.
A big talking point for the Saints has been the decisions surrounding the re-signing of a number of key players. Throughout the course of their tumultuous season, contract talks between the Saints and high-profile free agents have been put on hold.
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The biggest name yet to put pen to paper for the Saints is former first round pick Jack Billings. Billings was selected third in the 2013 National Draft, a pick that has been criticised heavily in hindsight after being picked up before superstars Marcus Bontempelli (pick 4) and Patrick Cripps (pick 13).
For a number of weeks, a hot talking point around the Saints (other than their poor performance) has been what to do about the signing of Billings and other free agents.
Fox Footy's David King has urged the Saints to consider letting Jack Billings go as well as former Trevor Barker medallist Seb Ross, in order to regain draft picks to bolster the Saints' weak draft hand.
“They’ve got to shop a couple out. They’ve got to get rid of Billings. It’s a broken relationship now, allow him to leave and get the dollars that ensure a first-round selection, so you might end up with Picks 6 and 7,” King said on Fox Footy's First Crack.
“I’d let Seb Ross go to a club like the Gold Coast Suns. It would be good for both parties. The Suns need a standard setter...You might get a second rounder for him in the early 20s.”
King referenced teams like Essendon, who have taken the route of letting big names go to gain draft capital, an approach that is completely opposite to the Saints' recent strategy of spending heavily in free agency.
The Bombers, who allowed Joe Daniher, Adam Saad and Orazio Fantasia to walk, were able to gain three top 10 picks in return to energise their side and be one of the surprise teams of the 2021 season, currently sitting in ninth position on the ladder.
With the Saints almost certain to miss finals and likely to drop further down the ladder, all eyes are firmly set on what they do during another busy off-season to bounce back from what can be hoped as a minor blip.
Should the Saints keep or let key free agents like Jack Billings walk? Let us know what you think!