The Saints made a series of moves Wednesday, bringing in three new players – fullback Zach Line, linebacker Bryan Braman and undrafted rookie defensive back Elijah Mitchell – and parting with offensive lineman Jack Allen, whom they waived/injured.
The most notable addition may be Line, who spent the first four years of his career with the Vikings and is coming off back-to-back 16-game seasons. Line totaled 339 snaps in Minnesota last year (210 on offense, 129 on special teams), but offseason hip surgery and a lack of demand for fullbacks likely combined to make it difficult for him to find employment. Before joining the Saints, who deployed fullback John Kuhn on 397 snaps last year (278 on offense, 119 via special teams), Line’s only known interest came from the Jets. It’s unclear whether Kuhn is now on the hot seat as a result of the Line signing.
Braman, meanwhile, has posted five 16-game seasons during his six-year career. His only missed time (two games) came as a member of the Texans in 2012, his second NFL season. Braman spent his first three years in Houston and the previous three in Philadelphia, where he functioned as a leading special teamer. The 30-year-old posted upward of 1,100 special teams snaps during his tenure with the Eagles and paced the unit in playing time in each of the previous two seasons. Thanks in part to Braman, the Eagles’ ST unit ranked as the NFL’s No. 2 group in 2016, per Football Outsiders. The Saints finished just 27th, on the other hand, so picking up Line and Braman could be the latest moves that improve the unit under new coordinator Bradford Banta.
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