The New Orleans Saints have been relatively quiet since signing running back C.J. Spiller at the end of last week. Could it be they’re done in free agency for a while or they’re still shopping?
The team continues to make their salary cap situation more tenable with the recent contract restructure of newly acquired linebacker Dannell Ellerbe.
Evan Woodbury of NOLA.com wrote that the Saints currently have $2.89 million in cap space but that is without the recent signing of Spiller added to the mix. Unfortunately that will likely wipe that out almost completely.
The Saints could likely use another addition to top off the free agency frenzy that is slowly dying down. After the trade of wide receiver Kenny Stills to the Miami Dolphins, could they be in play for a veteran wide receiver?
Yes, I know. The idea of that is low priority for many who feel the Saints need to add another defensive player to the mix.
The options left at the receiver position however is something that should at least be looked at.
As free agency began the market for wide receivers has fluctuated from contracts worth $11 million a year (Jeremy Maclin) to $1 million (Leonard Hankerson).
Now that the market has begun to settle the Saints could possibly find a veteran with physical presence as well as some experience to the position.
At the true receiver spot Marques Colston is currently the only veteran with Benjamin Watson at the tight end position. But what free agent receiver could the Saints look at to fit what head coach Sean Payton wants?
Really the only a few names stand out that are left on the list: Michael Crabtree, Dwayne Bowe, and Greg Jennings.
Out of those there’s one I see that could potentially fit.
Dec 7, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe (82) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Chiefs 17-14. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Bowe would be the most logical for what the Saints are wanting to do with a receiver. The skeptics will likely think that he is done, a bust, or what have you.
To date his best season was in 2010 where Bowe had 1,162 yards receiving, an average of 16.1 yards per catch, and 15 touchdowns.
The 2014 season was a different story altogether.
He only managed 754 yards receiving, 12.6 yards per catch, and zero touchdowns. Yes….zero touchdowns.
Despite all that, Bowe has managed to garner some interest in free agency despite no one sealing the deal.
His most recent was with the Cleveland Browns who were scheduled to meet with him on Saturday. So why would the Saints take a visit with Bowe?
One simple reason, potential.
Granted Bowe’s overall career may seem uninspired but really the big reason is a lack of a good quarterback.
Not saying Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith is horrible, but he’s no Drew Brees mind you.
Bowe likely knows that his time for a championship is dwindling and choosing a team like the Saints would be just the change of scenery to recharge his batteries and renew his motivation.
The former first round pick from L.S.U. also has something that teams covet which is size. At 6’2″ and 221 lbs, he could be a physical threat that the Saints need while revamping the receiving corps.
Also a plus is that Bowe has reached the age of 30 which could put the Saints in a position to sign him to a 2-3 deal that can be cap friendly.
Former San Francisco 49ers WR Michael Crabtree wouldn’t be a terrible addition; although the only issue that blares out is that he has had zero — and I mean zero — buzz surrounding him on the market, which I find odd.
Dec 28, 2014; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree (15) is introduced before the game against the Arizona Cardinals at Levi
And more odd in the sense that it stood to reason he’d have more visits lined up seeing as how he’s a receiver with size(6’1″, 214 lbs.) and ability.
The big knock would be having one great season in 2012(1,105 yards rec., 9 TD’s), with his production dipping due to injury the following season and he started only 5 games.
His 2014 campaign wasn’t great either. Crabtree started all 16 games but only managed 698 yards rec. and 4 TD’s.
Saints fans will remember though the brutal 51 yard pass he caught to spark the San Francisco 49ers victory in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome that year.
Everything aside, the Saints likely won’t take a visit with Crabtree not because of money, but more likely because he doesn’t fit the mold that head coach Sean Payton wants.
The third top veteran receiver Greg Jennings has ,according to him, “talks with several teams” that are ongoing.
Dec 21, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Greg Jennings (15) scores a touchdown as Miami Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes (21) reacts during the first half at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
His two year tenure with the Minnesota Vikings saw him catch 127 passes for 1,546 yards and 10 TD’s.
Not terrible but not the top paid receiver that the Vikings thought they were getting. Much like with Bowe, Jennings didn’t have much in the way of a quarterback with Matt Cassel or rookie Teddy Bridgewater.
There is no doubt that Jennings would bring a leadership role to the Saints but at 31 years of age and what he would want as far as a contract would likely keep him out of New Orleans.
Now to answer two questions on some familiar receiver options that have come up with many Saints fans. Better yet if you’re a nostalgic Who Dat and still living in 2009, be prepared.
Oct 12, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Lance Moore (16) warms up prior to the game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
No, the team does not need to sign Lance Moore and yes it’s time to move on from Robert Meachem.
Moore simply would be just that which is an option and not a fresh blooded one that the team currently needs.
While he was a fun and charismatic player during his time with the Saints, it hid the fact that he suffered injuries towards the end of his time in New Orleans.
This would plague him as he started over in 2014 with the Pittsburgh Steelers where he started only two games and scored that many touchdowns with a mere 198 receiving yards.
If the Saints were to be interested in a reunion with Moore I only see it being merely in the slot and they are needing much more than that.
With Meachem, Payton has clearly defined his role over the past few seasons which is as a blocking receiver. Since leaving the Saints in 2012 for the San Diego Chargers he has ceased to be a threat in the passing game.
The reunion with Meachem had a contingent of fans salivating that he could be the missing piece, the speedy threat, the “go to guy” for Brees, the…well you get the point.
Gotta love nostalgia.
What you can’t love is that in the past two seasons he has a mere 23 receptions for 438 yards and two touchdowns. Safe to say, it’s time to move on.
With so little options and probably even less left to spend in free agency it’s a long shot that the Saints would look to sign a wide receiver at this point.
They’re more likely to look at one’s already on the roster such as Nick Toon and Brandon Coleman to step up as well as finding a few with their nine picks in the upcoming draft.
But to be honest if there is a receiver the Saints will pull out of their hat in free agency, that trick really wouldn’t be a surprise…..