Saints Want To Add Another WR, Interested In Bryan Edwards

The Saints elected to retain wide receiver Michael Thomas via a one-year, incentive-laden deal, and New Orleans is also rostering 2022 first-rounder Chris Olave and possible UDFA gem Rashid Shaheed, along with longtime contributor Tre’Quan Smith. According to Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football, the club wants to add another physical pass catcher to support new quarterback Derek Carr, and Bryan Edwards is on the radar (Twitter link).

Edwards, a third-round selection of the Raiders in 2020, spent two years as Carr’s teammate in Las Vegas, including a 2021 season in which he caught 34 passes for 571 yards and three touchdowns. The 6-3, 212-pounder clearly has the size that the Saints are reportedly seeking, and he also offers serious big-play upside, as evidenced by his career 16.2 yards-per-reception rate. Those assets, as well as his familiarity with Carr, certainly explain New Orleans’ interest.

And it is possible that the Saints could land him fairly cheaply. The Raiders’ new Josh McDaniels/Dave Ziegler regime traded Edwards to the Falcons last May, and he was slowed by a shoulder injury in training camp with Atlanta. He ultimately caught just three passes for 15 yards in seven games with the Falcons before being cut, and he finished out the regular season on the Chiefs’ taxi squad. He recently visited with the Giants, who have been actively attempting to shore up their WR deficiencies this offseason.

The top talents of an underwhelming free agent crop of receivers have already come off the board, though players like Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, and Rashard Higgins remain available and could have a place in the Saints’ offense. Odell Beckham Jr. is still on the market as well, but there have been no recent reports connecting him to New Orleans.

In related news, we have some details to pass along on Thomas’ new deal. As Underhill tweets, Thomas now carries a cap charge of a little over $14MM for 2023, which is actually a bit of an increase over the ~$13MM figure that he was due to carry under his previous contract. Mike Triplett of NewOrleans.Football adds a bit more context, noting that the deal is officially a two-year pact that automatically voids in 2025 but is for all practical purposes a one-year accord worth between $6.26MM and $15MM, as Thomas would be in line for significant bonuses if he is still on the roster on Day 3 of the 2024 league year (Twitter thread).

As Triplett notes, Thomas will be due a $5MM signing bonus if he passes a physical on or about April 21 of this year, along with a $1.26MM base salary for 2023. He can earn up to $3.74MM in the form of a 2024 guaranteed roster bonus based on games played in 2023, and an additional $5MM in incentives — which Triplett details — are also available.

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