Saints Rumors

Delvin Breaux Signs With CFL Team

Delvin Breaux will not be playing for an NFL team in 2018. The former Saints cornerback has signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL, according to Nick Underhill of The Advocate (on Twitter). The news was first reported by Justin Dunk of 3 Down Nation

The Saints opted against tendering a contract to Breaux in March, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent. Despite meetings with the Broncos, Patriots, Packers, and 49ers in that very same month, the veteran did not sign with any teams. He’ll now look to rebuild his stock north of the border.

Breaux first put himself on the NFL’s radar with his strong play for the Ticats. After earning an All-Star selection in 2014, nearly half of the league watched him work out. The Saints signed Breaux in 2015 and he graded out as a high-end starter in his first year with the club. Breaux started in all 16 games and notched three interceptions, but he has been unable to recapture the magic so far.

Between a broken fibula suffered in the 2016 season opener and a shoulder injury sustained later in the year, Breaux lost the bulk of his sophomore season. He was then unable to take the field in 2017 after another fractured fibula that was misdiagnosed by team doctors as a leg contusion. That incident led to the Saints overhauling their medical team.

It was widely assumed that teams stayed away from Breaux due to his past leg injuries, but an issue with his spine is what prevented him from getting cleared by other teams in the NFL, Underhill hears (on Twitter).

CFL contracts run for a minimum of two years and do not include opt-outs for NFL opportunities, so the 28-year-old (29 in October) is set to play in Canada through the 2019 season. In theory, teams can grant requests for a release, but they are not obligated to do so. Ticats quarterback Johnny Manziel is in the same boat.

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More Minor NFL Transactions: 6/14/18

Another round of minor moves from this evening:

Denver Broncos

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

New Orleans Saints

Saints To Sign RB Terrance West

The Saints are signing running back Terrance West, according to a source who spoke with NFL.com’s Herbie Teope (on Twitter). There was some question on Wednesday as to whether the contract was official, but Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears that it’s a done deal. West was among the veterans running backs worked out by the Saints this week. 

[RELATED: DeMarco Murray Declines Saints Invitation To Work Out]

If he sticks on the roster, West will help to fill the void left by Mark Ingram‘s four-game suspension. Presumably, this means that the Saints will not be signing the other running backs auditioned this week such as Tim Hightower and Jamaal Charles. The Saints also asked DeMarco Murray to come show his stuff, but he declined the invite.

West is looking to rebound from an injury-shortened campaign in 2017. Although he was the Ravens’ leading rusher in 2016, he’ll be in line for a much more modest role if he makes the 53-man cut in New Orleans.

In 2016, West paced the Ravens’ ball carriers in attempts (193), yards (774) and touchdowns (five). The 26-year-old also added 34 catches for 236 yards and a receiving TD.

Although the complete order is yet to be determined, the Saints’ running back depth chart now consists of Ingram, Alvin Kamara, Trey Edmunds, Daniel Lasco, Boston Scott, Jonathan Williams, and West. Fullback Zach Line is also in the mix, though he’s not a lock to make the roster as his two-year deal contains just $200K in guaranteed money.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints’ Terrance West Signing Not Certain?

The Saints’ search for an Alvin Kamara sidekick during Mark Ingram‘s suspension has operated in high gear this week, with several running backs contacted for workouts. But the one they’ve reportedly agreed to sign — Terrance West — may not be New Orleans-bound just yet.

West’s deal is not finalized, Mike Triplett of ESPN.com and The Advocate’s Nick Underhill report (Twitter links). While Triplett notes a deal could come to fruition, it hasn’t yet despite a report of the sides reaching an agreement emerging Wednesday afternoon.

Additionally, Triplett reports Shane Vereen worked out for the Saints on Wednesday. He joins West, Jamaal Charles and Tim Hightower among UFA backs to audition for New Orleans. DeMarco Murray declined to be a part of this process.

Charles also could be a candidate for the Saints, assuming their West accord doesn’t come to fruition. The two-time All-Pro enjoyed a good workout, Herbie Teope of NFL.com tweets, and the injury-prone runner passed his physical. Teope adds a signing didn’t make sense for either side but could be revisited down the road. This would be Charles’ 11th season, should he land with a team.

This is the first known workout Vereen’s participated in since his Giants contract expired after the 2017 season. Vereen’s skill set is somewhat similar to Kamara’s; he’s functioned as a passing-down back in New England and New York. But nevertheless, the 29-year-old has seven years’ experience. However, he only posted 417 yards from scrimmage last season and missed 11 games in 2016.

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DeMarco Murray Declines Saints Workout

The Saints reached out to running DeMarco Murray to bring him to New Orleans for a Wednesday workout, but he declined, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Apparently, Murray did not want to work out as a part of a large group of running backs. 

Schefter hears that Murray is still very much intent on playing and believes that he can be a significant contributor in 2018, but he is also waiting for the right opportunity. The right opportunity, apparently, was not an audition with the Saints on the same week as Tim Hightower, Jamaal Charles, and Terrance West.

The Titans kicked Murray to the curb in March and he has not found a new NFL home despite meeting with the LionsSeahawks, and Dolphins since his release. Murray, 30, is coming off of a down season in which he amassed just 659 yards and averaged 3.6 yards per carry. On a per-tote basis, it matched the career low he set in his lone season with the Eagles. He did have 39 catches for 266 yards, however, and may be capable of getting back to his old form with a new team. Murray ultimately graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 40 running back in the league.

The Saints, who will be without Mark Ingram for the first four games of the season, are exploring veteran additions to support top rusher Alvin Kamara.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints Notes: Ingram, Davenport, Koo

Running back Mark Ingram is back at Saints practice after skipping organized team activities in May, tweets Nick Underhill of the Advocate. Ingram’s presence doesn’t come as a surprise, as he indicated late last month that he’d been in attendance for mandatory minicamp. A free agent at the end of the 2018 season, Ingram will begin the campaign by serving a four-game performance-enhancing drug suspension. New Orleans figures to hand a full workload to second-year running back Alvin Kamara, although the club is scheduled to audition veteran runners Jamaal Charles and Terrance West this week.

Here’s more on the Saints:

  • Rookie defensive end Marcus Davenport will undergo thumb surgery on a minor injury, but is expected to return in time for training camp, as Underhill writes in a full piece. Davenport will wait until after minicamp to have the operation, so he’s unlikely to miss any practice sessions. The Saints sacrificed a great deal of draft capital in order to land Davenport, trading two first-round selections and a fifth-rounder for the right to move up to pick No. 14. While Davenport’s injury seems negligible, New Orleans should have enough defensive end depth if he does end up missing significant action, as Alex Okafor (recovering from his own injury), Trey Hendrickson, and George Johnson, among others, are available.
  • In addition to Charles and West, the Saints plan to work out a number of players during their minicamp, including kicker Younghoe Koo (Twitter link via Larry Holder of NOLA.com); wide receiver Kevin Snead, tight end Jack Tabb, punter Jonathan Hernandez, and offensive lineman Trevor Darling (Twitter links via Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com); and wide receiver Josh Smith (Twitter link via Underhill). Of the group, Koo is the only member with NFL experience, as he spent four games as the Chargers’ kicker in 2017 before being waived.
  • In case you missed it, the Saints were one of five teams to use a post-June 1 release designation, meaning they were able to free up $3MM in cap space on June 1 as a result of tight end Coby Fleener‘s release.

Saints To Meet With Former Ravens RB Terrance West

The Saints are doing their homework on free agent running backs. Terrance West is scheduled to visit the Saints on Wednesday, a source tells ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). 

News of West’s impending visit comes hours after word of Tim Hightower‘s Tuesday tryout and Jamaal Charles‘ Wednesday tryout emerged. The Saints were said to be content with their group of running backs despite Mark Ingram‘s four-game ban to start the season, but that might not be the case.

The Saints’ running back group presently consists of Ingram, young star Alvin KamaraTrey EdmundsDaniel Lasco, rookie Boston Scott, and Jonathan Williams. If there is a running back to be added, Hightower’s familiarity with the offense could give him a leg up, but the experience of Charles and the past performance of West could give the Saints something to think about.

West’s 2017 season was cut short due to a calf injury suffered in October. He didn’t do much in his 39 rushing attempts last year, but he did average a respectable 4.0 yards per carry as the Ravens’ leading ball carrier in 2016.

West met with the Colts, Eagles, and Jaguars in the spring, but has yet to sign with any club this offseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jamaal Charles To Visit Saints

Running back Jamaal Charles will visit the Saints on Wednesday, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). We haven’t heard much about Charles since the end of the season, but he may finally get a chance to find an NFL home for 2018. 

After an exceptional, albeit injury-riddled, career with the Chiefs that included four Pro Bowl selections and two First Team All-Pro nods, Charles signed a one-year deal with the Broncos last year. Coming off multiple knee surgeries, he joined a crowded backfield that included C.J. Anderson and second-year back Devontae Booker and never established himself as the dominant force of years past.

Last year, Charles tallied 69 carries for 296 yards and a touchdown. The 31-year-old was a healthy scratch to close out the year and expressed his frustration with the team.

In addition to Charles, the Saints are also looking at old friend Tim Hightower, according to Nick Underhill of The Advocate (on Twitter). Hightower was spotted on the practice field Tuesday morning as he auditioned with the team’s running backs.

The Saints will be without Mark Ingram for the first four games of the season thanks to his suspension. The Saints have said that they’re comfortable with their remaining group – which includes Alvin Kamara, Trey Edmunds, Daniel Lasco, and roster hopefuls Boston Scott and Jonathan Williams – but they are giving some thought to adding some veteran reinforcement.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints Continue To Shift Focus To Young, Inexpensive Talent

  • Larry Holder of the Times-Picayune believes the Saints were wise to put a “ceiling price” on big-name free agents like Jimmy Graham and Ndamukong Suh this offseason, and he says the approach to Graham and Suh was emblematic of the team’s overall effort to rely more on young, cheap talent rather than high-priced veterans. That shift has been difficult because of New Orleans’ poor draft record in recent years, but while the Saints have a long way to go, Holder says they are moving in the right direction. Indeed, although the offense is heavy on expensive contracts, the defense is largely built on youth and thrift.

Five Teams Use Post-June 1 Designation

Lingering guarantees can be a rough pill to swallow for NFL teams as they move on from players, but the league’s post-June 1 designation allows clubs to spread out the dead money hit over two seasons while reaping greater benefits in the current year. This offseason, five teams took advantage of the rule to carve out some cap space. As Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter) notes, the following clubs now have some extra breathing room to sign draft picks and add veterans in the late stages of free agency: 

The additional cap space will be particularly useful for the Dolphins and Eagles, who have about $400K in cap room combinedThe Falcons ($3.7MM),Saints ($4.2MM), and Cowboys ($8.5MM) are also looking forward to the extra fiscal flexibility. The extra cap room may help to jumpstart the free agent market for players such as Dez Bryant, Tre Boston, Kenny Vaccaro, Eric Reid, and others without a home at this stage of the offseason.

The Dolphins have yet to sign any of their 2018 draft picks, including top choice Minkah Fitzpatrick, but you can expect to see some movement on that front once they receive their $17MM reprieve. The Cowboys, Saints, and Eagles have already wrapped their respective draft classes and the Falcons have signed every pick except for first rounder Calvin Ridley, so those four clubs can concentrate on using their extra room for veteran additions, or new deals/contract sweeteners for current players.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.