The Saints have waived running back Daniel Lasco with a failed physical designation, according to a team announcement. The move will create room for the addition of running back Shane Vereen, who was signed on Wednesday morning.
Lasco first entered the league as a seventh-round pick of the Saints in the 2016 draft and has largely played on special teams for New Orleans. Last year, he suffered a scary injury while making a special teams play against the Bills and had to be carted off of the field. Lasco had to be strapped to a board in order to limit his movement, but, thankfully, he was alright after the incident.
Without Lasco, the Saints still have six running backs under contract in Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram, Vereen, Trey Edmunds, Jonathan Williams, and sixth-round pick Boston Scott. Ingram will be suspended for the first four-games of the season, which should open up an opportunity for one of the running backs on the bubble.
Saints running back Daniel Lasco suffered a bulging disc that will end his season, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). However, the good news is that his injury is not believed to be a career-ender.
Lasco was carted off of the field during the Saints’ 47-10 win over the Bills. The running back made a head-first tackle on a kickoff return and wound up lying still on the field after the play. It was a scary scene in Buffalo as his head and body had to be strapped down to a board to limit movement.
Lasco entered the league as a seventh-round pick in the 2016 draft. The Cal product has largely played on special teams, though he did carry the ball 11 times last year for 32 yards.
Today’s minor moves:
New Orleans Saints
- Signed: LB Michael Mauti
- Promoted to active roster: RB Daniel Lasco
- Placed on injured reserve: LB Nathan Stupar (story)
- Released: T Bryce Harris
- Waived: LB Adam Bighill
New York Giants
- Claimed off waivers: LB Nigel Harris
- Placed on injured reserve: DE Romeo Okwara
- Waived/injured: CB Michael Hunter
New York Jets
- Released from injured reserve: DT Anthony Johnson
Tuesday’s practice squad moves…
- Signed: QB Josh Woodrum
- Cut: TE Ryan Malleck
- Signed: WR Mario Alford
Kansas City Chiefs
- Signed: DL Rickey Hatley
New Orleans Saints
- Signed: RB Daniel Lasco
- Signed: LB Max Valles
- Signed: T Victor Salako, CB De’Vante Bausby
- Cut: CB C.J. Smith, WR Greg Ward
San Francisco 49ers
Today’s minor moves:
- Released from IR: WR Dez Stewart
- Signed: OL Josh Walker
New England Patriots
New Orleans Saints
- Released from IR: DT Rodney Coe
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Released from IR: QB Sefo Liufau
The duo have incredibly similar career numbers, and their performances during OTAs have also been rather even. Therefore, coach Sean Payton can’t solely rely on the raw numbers to make his final decision.
“These two guys are almost identical all the way back through their college years,” Payton said.
The two will have an opportunity to separate themselves during training camp, but so far, the organization is content with what they’ve seen from the pair.
“Both have experience and we feel like we’ve got a real good opportunity to come away from training camp with a good measuring stick,” Payton said. “We feel good about the way both of them are hitting it.”
Let’s check out some more notes from the NFC South…
- As RosterResource.com shows, the Saints‘ running back depth chart is rather packed right now. Featuring Mark Ingram, C.J. Spiller, Tim Hightower, Travaris Cadet, Daniel Lasco and Marcus Murphy, coach Payton could have some disgruntled players if he ultimately keeps all six running backs. “I would be disappointed if somebody wasn’t a little ticked off,” Hightower told the Associated Press. “I’m a competitor. I don’t want to come off the football field.”
- The Eagles recently signed defensive tackle Fletcher Cox to a six-year, $103MM deal, including $55.5MM in guaranteed money. As Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer writes, this could complicate negotiations with Panthers defensive lineman Kawann Short. The 27-year-old sat out the majority of OTAs in pursuit of a new contract, although he did attend the mandatory minicamp earlier this week. For what it’s worth, Cox and Short finished with similar numbers in 2014, and Short actually rated better in Pro Football Focus’ ranking of interior defenders (subscription required).
- The Panthers certainly recognize the difficulties of finalizing a Short extension, as coach Ron Rivera indicated the other day. “I heard about that one,” he said. “(Someone) wrote that it’s going to complicate things. And it probably will. So we’ll see how things unfold.”
- After having seen a breakdown in contract talks with former Panthers (and current Redskins) cornerback Josh Norman, Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports sees similarities in the Short negotiations. While the writer doesn’t necessarily envision the team letting go of another starter, the presence of first-round pick Vernon Butler could make Short expendable.
The Saints have secured three of their 2016 draft picks, including their top two selections, general manager Mickey Loomis formally announced today in a press release. In addition to signing first-round defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins, second-round wide receiver Michael Thomas, and seventh-round running back Daniel Lasco, the club parted ways with running back Vick Ballard, defensive end Phillip Hunt, and fullback Toben Opurum.
All three veterans cut today by New Orleans have appeared in regular-season NFL games. Ballard notably ran for 814 yards and a pair of touchdowns during the 2012 season, when he served as the Colts’ primary back for most of the year. Hunt, 30, has been a part-time player for the Eagles and Lions in parts of four seasons since 2011, picking up four career sacks. Opurum, meanwhile, appeared in his first two regular-season games for the Saints in 2015.
As for the Saints’ draft pick signings, Rankins’ deal represents the most significant of the three, of course — it’s worth $12.802MM over four years, with a $7.51MM signing bonus and a fifth-year option for 2020. Thomas will receive a signing bonus of $1.923MM on his four-year rookie pact, while Lasco will get a modest $75K bonus.
No NFL team had a smaller 2016 draft class than the Saints, who selected just five players, so New Orleans has now locked up more than half of its draftees.
The 49ers were one of several teams who talked with the Panthers about a possible trade for Josh Norman before his franchise tag was rescinded, Jason Cole of Bleacher Report tweets. However, the talks didn’t get far. It’s worth noting that Norman would have had to either sign his franchise tag or agree to a long-term deal in order to make such a trade possible. The 49ers were one of many clubs to be connected to Norman when he became an unrestricted free agent last week but they ultimately did not land him.
Let’s round up a few more items from across the NFC…
- Before the Titans sent the No. 1 overall pick to Los Angeles, the Saints had discussions about moving up to No. 1 for a quarterback, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. It’s not clear whether New Orleans actually engaged in talks with the Titans, or simply discussed the idea internally, but Rapoport wonders if the team will target Paxton Lynch in the first round.
- Free agent defensive tackle Nick Hayden visited the Seahawks on Monday, according to Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com. Hayden has started 60 career NFL games, including 47 over the last three seasons in Dallas, making him one of the more experienced interior defenders still available on the open market.
- Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link) adds the Saints to the list of clubs that have worked out Cal running back Daniel Lasco in the weeks leading up to the draft. Lasco, whose stock is believed to be on the rise, worked out for at least five other teams besides New Orleans.
- German wide receiver Moritz Boehringer expects to be selected in the draft this week, but if he isn’t picked, the Vikings would be a leading candidate to sign him as an undrafted free agent, as he tells Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter link).
- The Buccaneers will bring in offensive lineman Nate Chandler and Brandon Mosley as tryout players for their three-day minicamp this week, Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. Chandler can play both tackle and guard.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
Ole Miss defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche is meeting with the Broncos today in Denver, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. After his meeting there, he’s off to the Cardinals for a visit. Teams are reportedly fearful of Nkemdiche’s off-the-field issues, but his talent should still keep him pretty high up on boards around the league.
Here’s the latest draft news:
- Cal running back Daniel Lasco has received invites from the Texans, Raiders, and 49ers, Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle tweets. Lasco has also had private workouts with the Patriots and Eagles and he’ll take part in the Texans’ local pro day since he’s from Houston (via Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee on Twitter). Lasco turned heads with his performance in 2014 but he was held back by a hip injury in 2015.
- Former LSU corner Rashard Robinson is generating a ton of interest, per Rand Getlin of NFL.com (on Twitter). Robinson visited the Broncos recently and the Jets and Seahawks are next on his docket. Robinson sat out 2015 after being suspended indefinitely by coach Les Miles. With no hope of getting back on the field for LSU in 2016, Robinson declared early for the draft.
- Houston linebacker Elandon Roberts has (or has had) workouts with the Texans and Steelers, Getlin tweets. He also has a visit lined up with the Cardinals. Roberts led the FBS with 88 solo tackles last year.
- Florida defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard has visits and/or workouts on the books with the Lions, Jets, Titans, Seahawks, Raiders, Falcons, and Patriots, Getlin tweets.