Jimmy Garoppolo's agent, Donald Yee, represents Saints coach Sean Payton, with whom Bears GM Ryan Pace worked for ten years in New Orleans.
There are all kinds of connections to be made like this around the NFL, but Pace's connections to Garoppolo especially stand out. Payton and Pace's Saints were rumored to be infatuated with Garoppolo in the 2014 draft and allegedly considered taking him toward the end of the first round. Payton, Pace, and Garoppolo are all alums of Eastern Illinois. Per CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora, "Yee knows well just how much Payton and Pace valued Garoppolo in the (2014) draft," and "putting a deal together between those two wouldn’t be difficult."
Saints coach Sean Payton said finding a pass rusher is "a must."
The Saints have a standout in DE Cameron Jordan, but they need much more help getting to the quarterback, especially if DT Nick Fairley leaves in free agency. They could attack the problem in the draft, but impending free agent OLB Melvin Ingram would be an intriguing option if the Chargers let him test the market. Jason Pierre-Paul is another interesting possibility.
Josh Katzenstein of the New Orleans Times-Picayune named Cordarrelle Patterson as a player the Saints could pursue in free agency.
To be clear, Katzenstein isn't reporting that New Orleans is interested. He's simply connecting the dots. The Saints' special teams were lacking last season and Patterson is easily the top return man on the market. Patterson also earned an increased passing-game role in Minnesota last year. Creative Saints coach Sean Payton could certainly put Patterson's gadget-touch skills to use on offense.
MMQB's Albert Breer mentions the Saints as a team that could possibly trade for Jimmy Garoppolo.
By no means is Breer reporting the Saints are interested, but he makes a really good point that New Orleans could acquire Garoppolo and have him as Drew Brees' backup for the final year of Garoppolo's rookie contract and then either sign him to a long-term deal or franchise-tag him in 2018 with Brees entering a contract year in 2017. The Saints have been sniffing the quarterback market a bit under the radar in the past couple years with Brees advancing in age.
When asked about an eventual successor to Drew Brees, Saints coach Sean Payton said, "That transaction may take place, not in the same year he’s being replaced."
In other words, the Saints could draft Brees' eventual replacement as soon as this year. Payton then spoke highly of Clemson's Deshaun Watson, calling him "special" while noting that Watson has all the "things that we're looking for." Brees is coming off another sensational year and has shown few signs of decline. It's smart for the Saints to keep their options open, but using a first-round pick on Watson with so many other needs might not be in their best interest.
Jets hired Saints WRs coach John Morton as offensive coordinator.
No relation to ex-NFL receiver Johnnie Morton, John did have a cup of coffee as an NFL wideout in the early- and mid-1990s, but he rose to coaching significance under Jim Harbaugh at the University of San Diego in 2005, then spent nearly a decade with the Raiders. Morton spent the last two seasons overseeing Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead's development and Michael Thomas' record-setting rookie campaign. As Jets head coach Todd Bowles is a defensive mind, Morton should have near-full control over Gang Green's offense. In order for Morton to succeed, GM Mike Maccagnan will need to find him a competent quarterback.
Alex Marvez of The Sporting News reports Mike Nolan is interviewing for a job with the Saints.
Remember him? The former 49ers coach was out of the league last year following a one-year stint as the Chargers' LBs coach. The Saints may view him as a replacement for Joe Vitt, who was fired as LBs coach shortly after the season. Nolan was also up for the role of Jaguars' LBs coach but recently withdrew his name from consideration.
Saints WRs coach John Morton interviewed for the Jets' opening at offensive coordinator on Wednesday.
The Jets are looking to replace Chan Gailey, who "retired" after the season. Morton oversaw one of the league's best receiving corps in New Orleans. The Jets are also said to be pursuing former Texans OC George Godsey. Ultimately, it won't matter who the Jets hire until they find a solution at quarterback.
Former 49ers coach Jim Tomsula is interviewing for the position of Saints DL coach.
He had previously garnered some attention from Washington, but never had a formal interview. Tomsula was out of his element as a head coach but was successful during his eight-year run as the Niners' DL coach. Bill Johnson held that position for the Saints last year but was fired after the season and has already caught on with the Rams.
Saints waived LB James Laurinaitis with an injury settlement.
Laurinaitis hurt his quad in Week 4 practice, and was sent to injured reserve earlier this month. Always overrated during his time in St. Louis, Laurinaitis was a calamity in three appearances for New Orleans. His name recognition figures to earn him another look, but Laurinaitis is not an effective NFL player.
Thu, Nov 17, 2016 05:13:00 PM
Saints waived NT John Jenkins.
The veteran interior tackle had played 176 snaps this season, struggling mightily. The Saints don't have much depth anywhere on defense, but keeping Jenkins around wasn't doing them any good. Still only 27, Jenkins will hunt for another chance elsewhere.
Tue, Nov 8, 2016 04:22:00 PM
Saints released OL Khalif Barnes.
It's the fourth time Barnes has been cut. His release is a sign the Saints expect LT Terron Armstead (questionable, knee) to play this week.
Sat, Nov 5, 2016 05:02:00 PM
ESPN's Ed Werder reports the Saints "made a play" for Browns CB Joe Haden before Tuesday's trade deadline.
Per Werder, New Orleans decided Cleveland's asking price was too high. Haden is suffering through another injury-marred year, but would have provided a jolt to the Saints' undermanned secondary. As it is, Haden will try to get healthy and finish strong for a team that could decide to release him in the offseason.
Tue, Nov 1, 2016 05:07:00 PM
Saints waived QB Joe Callahan.
The Saints claimed Callahan off waivers last week but didn't see enough to keep him as a No. 3 quarterback. Callahan could end up back on Green Bay's practice squad.
Sat, Oct 22, 2016 02:24:00 PM
Free agent DE/OLB Bjoern Werner worked out for the Saints on Tuesday.
The first-round bust has generated very little interest since he couldn't even make it to final cuts with the Jaguars.
Tue, Oct 11, 2016 05:48:00 PM
Free agent CB D'Joun Smith worked out for the Saints.
A 2015 third-round pick of the Colts, Smith was released with an injury settlement earlier this month. A total flameout in Indy, Smith would be going to the league's most cornerback-needy team, but remain little more than a developmental prospect.
Thu, Sep 22, 2016 04:53:00 PM
Saints released RB C.J. Spiller.
Signed to a "four-year, $16 million" deal in March 2015, the writing has been on the wall for Spiller in New Orleans since pretty much his first game. Brutally ineffective and in the doghouse last season, Spiller got showcased for a trade this summer before being a healthy scratch for Week 1. He simply never meshed with coach Sean Payton and Drew Brees' offense. Spiller is an on-paper home run hitter, but now 29 with just 776 yards from scrimmage over the past two seasons. He'll get another chance, but will be on a short leash.
Tue, Sep 13, 2016 05:26:00 PM
Saints worked out free agent Nate Washington.
They also had Rueben Randle, Andre Caldwell, and Greg Little in for visits. Washington has struggled for interest since his Patriots release, but could resurface after Week 1.
Wed, Sep 7, 2016 06:19:00 PM
Saints waived QB Garrett Grayson.
Grayson was the 75th pick in last year's draft and was expected to be groomed as the backup of the future in New Orleans. He was beat out by veteran Luke McCown two years in a row for No. 2 duties. Through two preseasons, Grayson completed 69-of-130 passes for 743 yards and a 2:6 TD:INT ratio.
Wed, Sep 7, 2016 10:53:00 AM
Free agent OG Jahri Evans visited the Saints on Tuesday.
A Saint since 2006, Evans was released in February. He signed with the Seahawks in early August, but didn't make much of a roster push. The Saints are still unsettled at Evans' old right guard. Now 33, Evans was a replacement-level player in 2015.
Tue, Sep 6, 2016 07:08:00 PM