Month: March 2019

The Saints Officially Sign Former Raiders’ Tight End Jared Cook

Adam Forsythe / March 26, 2019

After visiting with the New Orleans Saints on March 14, Jared Cook has officially signed with the team. The news broke on Tuesday, March 26, nearly two weeks later.

Cook was drafted in the third round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans. Cook has played with four teams throughout his professional career with the most recent team being the Oakland Raiders. In his 10th and most recent season, Cook enjoyed the best year of his career so far. Cook hauled in 68 receptions for 896 yards and six touchdowns on his way to his first ever Pro Bowl Appearance.

Entering this offseason as a free agent, the Raiders did not elect to bring Cook back, allowing Cook to visit and negotiate with other teams. The Saints were one of Cook’s earliest suitors with the New England Patriots also showing interest. Cook visited with the Saints on March 14, but no official agreement was reached. This left Saints’ fans in a frenzy as many were wondering if the team was going to be able to sign the veteran tight end. Now that Cook has officially signed with the team, fans no longer need to worry.

Cook signed a two-year contract with the Saints worth $15.5 million, including $8 million fully guaranteed in the first year. At age 31, Cook will add a valuable, key piece to an already explosive offense. The Saints haven’t had a dominant tight end since they traded Jimmy Graham to the Seattle Seahawks in 2015. Now with Cook on the team, the Saints will likely look to spend their second-round draft pick on another position.

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Saints Find Unger’s Replacement?

Adam Forsythe / March 17, 2019

When New Orleans Saints’ center Max Unger shocked everyone by announcing his retirement yesterday, many Saints’ fans wondered how the team would replace Unger’s production. It didn’t take them long to find that replacement as the team signed former Minnesota Vikings’ offensive lineman Nick Easton only one day after losing Unger.

Although Easton was listed as a guard, he has experience at the center position. Easton signed with the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 2015. Easton’s Pro Football Focus grade was the highest of any center in the preseason that year. The San Fransisco 49ers acquired Easton from the Ravens and then traded him to the Vikings shortly after.

Easton finally got the opportunity to start as he filled in for starting center Joe Berger in week 13 of the 2016 season. Easton also played the following week as Berger was unable to clear the concussion protocol. Easton’s work earned him a starting spot at the guard position for the Vikings in 2017 before he suffered a fractured right ankle in week 16 of that season. Unfortunately, Easton’s 2018 season ended before it even began after he suffered a neck injury in training camp.

Entering this offseason, Easton was a free agent. He received offers from both the Vikings and the Saints before ultimately accepting the four-year, $24 million offer to join the Who Dat Nation. Although Easton has had some injury problems in the past, he provides the Saints with a crucial piece to their offensive line as they were cut short at the center position courtesy of Unger’s sudden retirement.

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Saints’ Center Max Unger Retiring

Adam Forsythe / March 16, 2019

In a shocking announcement, New Orleans Saints’ center Max Unger decided to retire from the NFL. The news broke on Saturday afternoon.

After spending his first six seasons in the league with the Seattle Seahawks, Unger was traded to the Saints in the famous Jimmy Graham trade in 2015 in which the Saints sent Graham to the Seahawks in exchange for Unger and the Seahawks’ first-round draft pick that year.

Unger spent four seasons in New Orleans as he played a crucial role in turning the Saints’ offensive line into one of the most dominant in the league. Unger enjoyed a phenomenal year last season, earning a Pro Bowl trip while being the literal centerpiece of one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL.

The Saints will now need to look for a replacement for their former center. They have two players currently on the team who could possibly replace Unger’s production. Cameron Tom and former LSU Tiger Will Clapp are young centers who could battle for that starting spot. Both players are very young as Tom signed with the Saints in 2017 as an undrafted free agent and Clapp was selected by the team in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL Draft. The Saints may also look into free agency to bring in a veteran to fill this hole, or they could look to select a center in the upcoming NFL Draft which begins on Thursday, April 25.

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Teddy Bridgewater to Officially Re-sign with the New Orleans Saints

Adam Forsythe / March 14, 2019

After visiting with the Miami Dolphins and contemplating their offer, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater elected to re-sign with the New Orleans Saints.

Previously this week, it was announced that Bridgewater and the Saints had verbally agreed on a contract, however, they couldn’t get it officially done until March 13 at 4:00 P.M. ET. When that time came, the Dolphins tried to make a late push to sign the young quarterback. Bridgewater visited with the Dolphins last night but left without a deal. Bridgewater spent most of the day today at the Saints’ facility finalizing a deal. The deal is a one-year contract worth $7.25 million fully guaranteed and a max value of $12.5 million.

Bridgewater is expected to be the player who will take over once current star quarterback Drew Brees will retire. He’s shown some flashes in his young career and could truly thrive in a dynamic offense like one in New Orleans featuring stars like Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara.

What makes this signing even better is the significance of the day on which he signed his contract. On this day 13 years ago, Brees signed with the New Orleans Saints after visiting with the Dolphins, and the rest, as they say, is history. Saints’ fans will certainly be looking for Bridgewater to carry on that legacy.

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Former Saints’ Defensive End Alex Okafor Set to Join the Chiefs

Adam Forsythe / March 14, 2019

Alex Okafor, former defensive end for the New Orleans Saints, is set to join the Kansas City Chiefs via free agency.

After signing with the Saints on March 14, 2017, Okafor played well for the team as he earned 4.5 sacks and 43 total tackles that season. The team re-signed him to a two-year contract on March 16, 2018. Okafor went on to log another four sacks and 36 tackles last season which was enough to void his contract via an incentive, effectively making him a free agent.

Okafor’s new deal with the Chiefs is for three years and awards him with up to $24 million over that span. The Chiefs will likely feature Okafor pretty heavily on defense as they lost a pair of key pass rushers via free agency in Justin Houston and Dee Ford.

The Saints had already begun looking for players to replace Okafor’s production as they scheduled a visit with former Detroit Lions’ defensive end Ezekiel Ansah. If the Saints can reach a deal with Ansah, he’d add some now much-needed depth at the defensive end position.

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