Brandon Coleman

WR Brandon Coleman Could Return To Saints

The Saints released Brandon Coleman yesterday, but the receiver could end up finding his way back to New Orleans. Head coach Sean Payton hinted that the 26-year-old could return to the organization once he’s healthy enough to play.

“He’s got a little bit of time still in his rehab,” Payton said (via Luke Johnson of NOLA.com). “He’ll be able to go ahead and rehab and get healthy. I would anticipate that it’s not the last time we’ll see him. He and I had a good visit today, we’re all on the same page.”

After starting training camp on the active/physically unable to perform list, the Saints released Coleman with a failed physical designation yesterday. Payton told reporters that the receiver is dealing with neck and hip injuries, and the estimated recovery time meant the Saints were forced to part ways with the former undrafted free agent.

“It would be too early for me to say three weeks, four weeks, but his progress is going well,” Payton said. “It’s just going to take a little bit longer. Right now, with where we’re at, we’ve got to keep making room so we can play these games.”

The six-foot-six, 225-pound Coleman may have stood above his fellow Saints wideouts, but he was unable to put up big numbers with New Orleans over the past three seasons. His 2017 campaign was on-par with his usual production, as he finished with 23 receptions for 364 yards and three scores. If Coleman were to return to the Saints, he’d have a tough time improving on those stats, as Michael Thomas, Cameron Meredith, and Ted Ginn Jr. seemed to be locked in atop the depth chart.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints To Release WR Brandon Coleman

The Saints will release wide receiver Brandon Coleman with a failed physical designation, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Coleman had been sidelined by an unspecified injury in recent weeks, tweets Mike Triplett of ESPN.com.

New Orleans declined to tender Coleman as a restricted free agent earlier this year, failing to bring him back on an original round tender that would have cost $1.9MM. Instead, the Saints re-signed Coleman in April to a deal that had a maximum value of $1MM.

Exactly how often Coleman was to contribute during the upcoming season had been unclear, as the Saints improved their wide receiving corps over the offseason. New Orleans landed Cameron Meredith after inking the former Bear to a restricted offer sheet, one which Chicago declined to match. He’ll likely act as the Saints’ slot receiver between Michael Thomas and Ted Ginn Jr., so Coleman was — at best — the club’s fourth wideout.

Coleman, who entered the league as an undrafted free agent out of Rutgers in 2014, has never been all that productive while catching passes from Drew Brees. His target share and overall reception total decreased in each of his three full seasons with the Saints, and he was never able to top 30 receptions or 500 receiving yards during his tenure wit the team.

But there are reasons to be somewhat optimistic about Coleman’s future, and his large stature is one of them. Coleman stands 6’6″ and 225 pounds, meaning he nearly has the frame of a tight end. That size hasn’t contributed to production out of the slot thus far, but Coleman is still only 26 years old. Coleman also fared well in Football Outsiders’ DYAR, which measures value over a replacement-level player — among the 71 wideouts with fewer than 50 receptions in 2017, Coleman ranked a respectable 13th in DYAR.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Pack, Ravens, Saints, Conley

Brian Gutekunst remains confident the Packers will sign Aaron Rodgers to an extension this offseason, telling Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk he expects an agreement “soon.” The first-year GM said both sides continue to work on a pact. Although, the negotiations likely just saw the price rise since Matt Ryan‘s five-year, $150MM extension raised the ceiling for quarterback contracts. However, Gutekunst told Florio before Ryan’s Falcons agreement was finalized that both the Packers and Rodgers may be waiting to see if any other quarterback deals are completed this offseason. With Kirk Cousins signed and Ryan now locked up through 2023, Rodgers’ deal is likely next on the QB docket. Although, it’s still possible the Patriots and Tom Brady revise the reigning MVP’s contract. With two years remaining on Rodgers’ deal, Florio estimates the final result will be a contract closer to Ryan’s through-2023 deal than Cousins’ three-year accord. He also expects Rodgers’ new deal to further raise the quarterback ceiling, one that’s climbed considerably since Derek Carr became the league’s first $25MM-AAV player less than a year ago.

Here’s the latest from around the league:

  • Two rookies the Ravens may well have hoped to land went to AFC North rivals. Jeff Zreibec of the Baltimore Sun notes the Ravens were eyeing Miami running back Mark Walton with their fourth-round pick, but the Bengals ended up selecting him six spots before Baltimore’s next pick — one that went to Alabama cornerback Anthony Averett. The other player they may well have wanted ended up in Pittsburgh. Zreibec adds the Ravens most likely sought James Washington, who went to the Steelers late in the second round. Eric DeCosta said a few times during this draft he became “angrier than usual” because of a player going off the board just prior to a Ravens selection window, and Zreibec assumes the Oklahoma State wide receiver was the source of one of these agitation bouts.
  • Brandon Coleman‘s Saints contract is worth a maximum of $1MM, Larry Holder of NOLA.com reports. Coleman re-signed with New Orleans after not being tendered as a restricted free agent. Had the Saints applied the low-end tender to Coleman, he would have made $1.9MM this season. After the Saints selected Tre’Quan Smith in the third round, Coleman and return specialist Tommylee Lewis could be battling for a roster spot, Nick Underhill of The Advocate writes.
  • On the subject of Saints position battles, Underhill notes the Saints are high enough on Taysom Hill that they might be ready to cut Tom Savage and carry just two quarterbacks if Hill beats him out for the backup job. They also brought in J.T. Barrett this month. Hill served as the Saints’ third-string quarterback last season behind Drew Brees and Chase Daniel. It would cost the Saints just $100K if they released Savage.
  • Gareon Conley has yet to receive full clearance to return to Raiders workouts, but Jon Gruden said that appears imminent, per Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area. Conley underwent shin surgery last year after missing almost his entire rookie season. Gruden indicated the 2017 first-round pick is running with teammates and participating in walkthroughs but hasn’t been given a full green light yet.
  • Both of Eric Berry‘s twin younger brothers are with teams this weekend. One will have a chance to join the All-Pro safety with the Chiefs. Elliott Berry is in Kansas City working as a tryout player, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Meanwhile, Evan Berry signed with the Browns as a UDFA on Friday. Both of twins played at Tennessee, as Eric did.

Saints To Re-Sign WR Brandon Coleman

The Saints have agreed to re-sign wide receiver Brandon Coleman, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Coleman was scheduled to hit restricted free agency last month, but New Orleans non-tendered him rather than offer him a contract. An original round tender — the cheapest of the RFA tags — would have cost the Saints just $1.907MM, so they’ve presumably re-signed Coleman at an even cheaper rate.

Exactly how often Coleman will be called on to contribute during the upcoming season is unclear, as the Saints have improved their wide receiving corps over the past month. New Orleans landed Cameron Meredith after inking the former Bear to a restricted offer sheet, one which Chicago declined to match. He’ll likely act as the Saints’ slot receiver between Michael Thomas and Ted Ginn Jr., so Coleman is — at best — the club’s fourth wideout.

Coleman, who entered the league as an undrafted free agent out of Rutgers in 2014, has never been all that productive while catching passes from Drew Brees. His target share and overall reception total decreased in each of his three full seasons with the Saints, and he was never able to top 30 receptions or 500 receiving yards during his first go-round with the team.

But there are reasons to be somewhat optimistic about Coleman’s future, and his large stature is one of them. Coleman stands 6’6″ and 225 pounds, meaning he nearly has the frame of a tight end. That size hasn’t contributed to production out of the slot thus far, but Coleman is still only 25 years old. Coleman also fared well in Football Outsiders’ DYAR, which measures value over a replacement-level player — among the 71 wideouts with fewer than 50 receptions in 2017, Coleman ranked a respectable 13th in DYAR.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints Rumors: Meredith, Coleman, Snead

Now that Cameron Meredith is in the fold with the Saints, he still must complete a lengthy rehab process. The wide receiver saw his 2017 season erased because of ACL and MCL tears in his left knee, and he’s not planning to partake in New Orleans’ offseason program. Meredith’s goal is to return by training camp.

I see myself being 100 percent for at least the season,” Meredith said during a radio interview on ESPN Chicago (via The Advocate’s Nick Underhill). “Training camp is my goal, and I don’t see any reason why I can’t accomplish that. I haven’t had any setbacks. I don’t think anyone had that as a major concern.”

Meredith received multiple offers in restricted free agency, so multiple medical staffs gave teams the go-ahead here. The now-25-year-old wideout fared well for the 2016 Bears, posting 888 receiving yards and four touchdowns. He’ll walk into what’s been the league’s most consistently productive aerial attack over the past 12 seasons and is in line to serve as an auxiliary option for Drew Brees.

Here’s the latest out of New Orleans.

  • Meredith opted for the Saints in part because they have former Bears wide receivers coach Curtis Johnson on staff. Now in his second stint as Saints wideouts instructor, Johnson served as the Bears’ WRs coach in 2016 before moving on to New Orleans last year. “C.J. was a big part of my success in Chicago,” Meredith said Friday, via Amos Morale III of NOLA.com. “And getting to rejoin him in New Orleans… (we’ll) get back right were we left off.”
  • The Meredith deal likely impacts other recent Brees weapons. A supporting-cast cog with the Saints the past three seasons, Brandon Coleman is now unlikely to return to the Saints and will have to find a gig elsewhere, Larry Holder of NOLA.com notes. New Orleans did not tender Coleman, now a UFA, but did offer an original-round tender to Willie Snead. A more consistent producer than Meredith after two 890-plus-yard seasons with the Saints, Snead saw his production dip dramatically last season (eight catches, 92 yards). Negotiating an extension last offseason, Snead has instead seen his stock drop. He worked out for the Ravens, who preferred Meredith, but has not been connected to another team yet in free agency. He has until April 20 to sign another team’s offer sheet. Holder wonders if the Saints retract their original-round tender ($1.9MM) now that Meredith’s under contract.
  • The Saints signed offensive lineman Gabe Ikard to a reserve/futures contract in January, but Ikard has opted to retire, per Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com. Ikard finished last season on the Saints’ practice squad. He last played in two games for the Bills in 2016. The 27-year-old Oklahoma alum is now hosting a drive-time radio show in Oklahoma City.
  • Andrus Peat is now under Saints control through the 2019 season. The team exercised the three-year starter’s fifth-year option.

RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 3/14/18

Here are today’s restricted free agent and exclusive-rights free agent tender decisions, with the list being updated throughout the day. All links go to Twitter unless otherwise noted:

RFAs

Tendered at the second-round level ($2.914MM):

Tendered at original round level ($1.907MM):

Non-tendered:

ERFAs

Tendered:

Non-tendered:

RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 3/7/17

Unrestricted free agent news will obviously dominate the day, but several clubs also had to make decisions on whether to offer tenders to restricted and exclusive rights free agents. All RFA tenders listed are original round/right of first refusal (worth $1.797MM), and all links go to Twitter:

RFAs:

Tendered:

Non-Tendered:

ERFAs:

Tendered:

Non-Tendered:

Saints’ Brandon Coleman On Roster Bubble?

Wide receiver Brandon Coleman isn’t assured of a spot on the Saints roster, as Mike Triplett of ESPN.com writes. Coleman, who spent his rookie season on New Orleans’ practice squad, appeared in all 16 games in 2015, posting 30 receptions for 454 yards and two touchdowns. But following the Saints’ most recent preseason game, head coach Sean Payton wasn’t very complementary of Coleman’s performance.Keenan Lewis (Vertical)

[RELATED: Saints Release Keenan Lewis]

“I thought it was just OK,” said Payton. “And honestly, it’s been kind of pedestrian from him throughout camp. There’s certain things you see and you see and you see and you see, and then all of a sudden they reveal themselves in a game. And you know what, I’m not surprised. And I think he can be better, and I know I’ve seen better.

“So he’s gonna have to pick it up. I think he will. I think he’ll compete. But I don’t like how he’s catching the ball on the first play that comes out of his hands. Too many times the ball’s separating from him.”

The Saints selected Ohio State’s Michael Thomas in the second round of this year’s draft, and he figures to take over for Marques Colston as the club’s big slot. And with Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead locked in on the outside, Coleman is the fourth option on the depth chart, at best. New Orleans has spent all offseason trying to find a veteran to add to that group, as they’ve agreed to terms with both Vincent Brown and Hakeem Nicks, but neither lasted on the roster.

Payton also didn’t have kind words for return man Marcus Murphy, who has fumbled in each of the Saints’ first two preseason contests. “It just can’t happen. We’ll find another returner,” said Payton, who added that undrafted rookie free agent Tommylee Lewis will be given the chance to usurp Murphy’s role. Murphy, 24, was New Orleans’ primary returner in 2015, averaging just under 10 yards per punt return and 25 yards on kickoffs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints Place Thomas, Hicks On IR

The Saints have placed running back Pierre Thomas and defensive end Akiem Hicks on IR, according to Mike Triplett of ESPN.com (link). Taking their spots on the 53-man roster will be wide receiver Brandon Coleman and linebacker Jerry Franklin (link). Coleman and Franklin were bumped up in order to secure them under contract, according to coach Sean Payton. They are not expected to play this weekend.

Despite playing in ten games this season, Thomas has only amassed 45 carries this season, which will be the lowest for his career. He has been pushed onto the backburner as former first-round pick Mark Ingram has seen his workload and productivity increase. Ingram, who has also struggled with injuries, has been given over 200 carries during his breakout year.

Hicks was a third-round pick in 2012, and played 14 games for the Saints this year. His productivity was marginal, getting to the quarterback for only two sacks this year, but did contribute 4.5 sacks in 2013.

Sunday Transactions: NFC South

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four NFC South teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions are noted below.

Additionally, as of 11:00am CT today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. For the 2014 and 2015 seasons, changes were made to practice squad rules that allow teams to carry eight players instead of 10, and the eligibility requirements for those extra two spots were also loosened. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.

Here are Sunday’s NFC South transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:

Atlanta Falcons:

Carolina Panthers:

New Orleans Saints:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: