Player News - Saints

Date: Team: Pos:

Saints fired assistant head coach Joe Vitt, special teams coordinator Greg McMahon and DL coach Bill Johnson.

Assistant special teams coach Stan Kwan and defensive assistant James Willis have also been let go. Bloodletting assistants has become an annual rite of passage for coach Sean Payton as his team continues to struggle on defense and special teams. DC Dennis Allen should have leeway in picking some of his new lieutenants. The moves are, of course, an indication Payton will be remaining in New Orleans.
Jan 5 - 5:30 PM

When asked about his future in New Orleans, Saints coach Sean Payton said, "I definitely plan on being back here."

Payton has four years remaining on his contract and plans on "honoring that." It was natural to think Payton might want a change of scenery with six head coaching jobs open and New Orleans coming off its third straight 7-9 finish. But the Saints still have Drew Brees and also have an exciting young receiver in Michael Thomas. In the end, that was more appealing to Payton than starting over somewhere else. Payton has been with the Saints since 2006.
Jan 2 - 8:34 PM

Saints signed QB Garrett Grayson, OG John Fullington, TE Garrett Griffin, DT Ashaad Mabry, TE Jake Stoneburner, WR Jordan Williams and DT Justin Zimmer to reserve/future contracts.

Grayson spent most of the year on the Saints' practice squad. The 2015 third-round pick has yet to play an NFL snap.
Jan 2 - 7:52 PM

Drew Brees plans to play out the final year of his deal without an extension in 2017.

"I'm just taking it one year at a time, honestly, because I certainly don't want to miss out," the soon-to-be 38-year-old quarterback said. "I don't want to overlook any opportunity. I don't want to miss out on any just moment, and I understand that I'm more toward the end of my career than I am the beginning and so time is limited. I can't tell you how long that's going to be." Brees hasn't slowed down a bit, but football does become a year-to-year proposition at his age. Ultimately, it would not be surprising for Brees to have a year tacked onto his contract this offseason.
Jan 2 - 4:11 PM

Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports the Rams will seek permission to speak with Saints coach Sean Payton about their coaching vacancy.

Holder also reports GM Mickey Loomis is open to trading Payton. Loomis and Payton met for about an hour after Sunday's season finale to discuss the coach's future. Payton seems to be linked with a move away from New Orleans every offseason, but this one might actually have some legs. The Rams have already been linked with Patriots OC Josh McDaniels and Jaguars interim coach Doug Marrone among others.
Jan 2 - 9:23 AM

Brandon Coleman caught 1-of-3 targets for eight yards in the Saints' Week 17 loss to the Falcons.

Coleman operated as the Saints' No. 4 receiver all season but got a bump up any time one of Michael Thomas, Brandin Cooks, or Willie Snead was out. Coleman played just 364 snaps on the year, corralling 26-of-38 targets for 281 yards and three touchdowns. He'll be back with the Saints for the offseason program as an exclusive rights free agent but may have to compete for a spot.
Jan 1 - 9:40 PM

Brandin Cooks caught 3-of-6 targets for 19 yards in the Saints' Week 17 loss to the Falcons.

Another dud of a game in a season that was sprinkled with them for Cooks. He was the ultmiate boom-or-bust receiver. Cooks had three 100-yard games and scored two touchdowns each in two of those. He also had 13-yard and zero-target games mixed in. Cooks still was able to lead the team in receiving yards, finishing with a 77-1,170-8 line, but Michael Thomas bested him in catches and touchdowns and proved to be more consistent. There were murmurs last month that the Saints could shop Cooks this offseason after he expressed frustration with his role in the offense back in November. Thomas has passed him as the No. 1 receiver. Cooks is under team control for two more years.
Jan 1 - 9:31 PM

Coby Fleener caught 3-of-8 targets for 38 yards in the Saints' Week 17 loss to the Falcons.

Signed to a five-year, $36 million deal last offseason, Fleener's season got off to a rough start, as he managed to catch 3-of-12 targets for 35 yards in the first two games. He had a big Week 3 with 7-109-1 against the Falcons, but that ended up being Fleener's only 100-yard game of the year. He didn't score a touchdown after Week 11 and saw his snaps cut into by Josh Hill before Hill was sent to I.R. in December. Fleener's career to this point can be summed up as "missed opportunities." He dropped or bungled a bunch of passes his first season in New Orleans. Fleener gets another offseason to work with Drew Brees and should be considered a borderline TE1/2 heading into 2017.
Jan 1 - 9:27 PM

Travaris Cadet caught 3-of-5 targets for 18 yards and one touchdown in the Saints' Week 17 loss to the Falcons.

Labeled as a running back, Cadet ran the ball just four times this season for 19 yards. As a receiver, he caught 40-of-50 targets for 280 yards and four touchdowns. He's a useful piece in this high-flying offense but really wouldn't fit in anywhere else. Cadet is scheduled for free agency in March.
Jan 1 - 9:24 PM

Willie Snead caught 3-of-4 targets for 82 yards in the Saints' Week 17 loss to the Falcons.

Snead had a monster first two weeks of the season, hanging a 9-172-1 line on the Raiders in Week 1 and then catching another touchdown in Week 2, leading some to wonder if he was for real as a WR2. Ultimately, Snead never had another 100-yard game and scored just two more touchdowns while missing some time with a toe issue. Snead settled in as the Saints' No. 3 receiver and a borderline fantasy start. His 96 targets were just one more than 2015, and Snead pretty much matched last season's numbers evenly with a 72-895-4 line. The Saints have Snead under roster control for another two seasons.
Jan 1 - 9:18 PM

Tim Hightower rushed three times for 29 yards and one touchdown in the Saints' Week 17 loss to the Falcons.

Hightower's story continues to be impressive. He missed the 2012, -13, and -14 seasons after wrecking his knee, and his 133 carries in 2016 were his most in a season since 2010. Hightower finishes the year with 548 rushing yards and four touchdowns, while adding 22 catches for 200 yards and another touchdown. Hightower just wrapped up his age-30 season and had some big weeks with mysterious Mark Ingram benchings, but overall Hightower proved to be nothing more than a guy who should be getting 10-12 carries per game. Hightower is slated to be a free agent in March. It'll be interesting to see if he gets much action outside of New Orleans.
Jan 1 - 9:10 PM

Michael Thomas caught 10-of-14 targets for 156 yards and one touchdown in the Saints' Week 17 loss to the Falcons.

Thomas broke Marques Colston's team rookie record for receiving yards in a season on Sunday, and finishes his first campaign with a 92-1,136-9 line on 119 targets. Thomas led the team in catches, targets, and touchdowns, while Brandin Cooks barely edged him out with 34 more receiving yards. Thomas was the 47th pick back in May's draft and landed in an absolutely perfect spot as Colston's replacement and Drew Brees' favorite red-zone target. Cooks and Willie Snead didn't have the size to do work near the end zone, while Brees kept feeding Thomas on quick slant patterns all day every week. Thomas will head into 2017 as a WR1, but Brees may only have 1-2 years left. Thomas is obviously someone to hold onto in Dynasty formats as a building block.
Jan 1 - 9:02 PM

Mark Ingram rushed 20 times for 103 yards and one touchdown in the Saints' Week 17 loss to the Falcons.

Ingram added six catches for 29 yards on eight targets. The Saints were "very aware" that Ingram was 60 rushing yards away from 1,000 heading into the finale, and they made it a point to get it for him. Ingram finishes the year with 205 carries for 1,043 yards and six touchdowns, averaging a career-best 5.1 YPC. It's Ingram's first career 1,000-yard year. Despite all the ups and downs coach Sean Payton put Ingram through via the committee in the backfield, Ingram still finished as the overall RB11 through Week 16. He added 46 catches for 319 yards and his first four receiving touchdowns. Ingram just turned 27 in December and has two years left on his contract. It remains to be seen if Payton will be back at the controls as the Saints' coach.
Jan 1 - 8:50 PM

Drew Brees completed 29-of-50 passes for 350 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception in the Saints' Week 17 loss to the Falcons.

Brees was competing with Sam Bradford for the completion-percentage record, which Brees already held from 2011. Bradford ended up setting the new record on Sunday at 71.6 percent. Brees still had a fine year, completing 470-of-672 attempts (69.9 percent) for 5,203 yards and a 37:15 TD:INT mark. It was Brees' first 5,000-yard campaign since 2013 and the eighth of his career. Brees finished as fantasy's QB3 through Week 16 and has been as consistent as any quarterback for the past decade. He has one year left on his contract and turns 38 two weeks from today. As long as Brees continues to play his home games in the Superdome, he'll be an elite QB1. Michael Thomas has the looks of a real No. 1 receiver.
Jan 1 - 8:38 PM

Saints declared WR Corey Fuller, C Jack Allen, LB Travis Feeney, WR Jake Lampman, RB Daniel Lasco, RB Marcus Murphy, and S Robenson Therezie inactive for Week 17 against the Falcons.

New Orleans heads into the finale pretty healthy.
Jan 1 - 3:34 PM


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