Saints linebacker Nathan Stupar will miss the remainder of the 2017 season after tearing his ACL on Sunday, according to Herbie Teope of the Times-Picayune (Twitter link).
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Stupar injured his knee while covering a punt, and special teams were a key area of focus for him during his time with New Orleans. In fact, Stupar hadn’t played a single defensive snap this year. He’d seen action on nearly half the club’s special teams plays, however, and helped the Saints to the No. 17 ranking in ST DVOA, a massive improvement from 2016.
Stupar has plenty of NFL experience under his belt, as he’s appeared in 63 games and made nine starts during his five-plus year pro career. He’s under Saints control through 2018, but given his age (29) and his cap number ($2.125MM), it wouldn’t be surprising to see New Orleans cut ties this offseason, as doing so would save the club $1.725MM in cap space.
Not much should change on the Saints’ defense as a result of Stupar’s injury, as Craig Robertson, A.J. Klein, and Manti Te’o will continue to see the most snaps. On special teams, the newly-signed Gerald Hodges and/or Adam Bighill — who was promoted from the practice squad over the weekend — could be deployed more frequently.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.