New Orleans Saints Rumors & News

Drew Brees Not Pushing For Contract Extension

  • Quarterback Drew Brees signed a one-year extension before last season to remain with the Saints through 2017, but he’s not pushing for another deal this summer, writes Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com. When asked Wednesday whether the Saints have approached him about a new contract, Brees said: “I don’t expect them to I don’t really desire them to. I just want to play football. I want to help this team.” Theoretically, New Orleans is at some risk of losing the soon-to-be 39-year-old Brees after next season, though it seems he expects to eventually ink a new deal with the club. “I know that that stuff takes care of itself,” he commented. “It takes care of itself when it’s supposed to. That shouldn’t be a priority right now.”

Saints Sign OL Orlando Franklin

Orlando Franklin is now a member of the Saints. The former Chargers offensive lineman has inked a one-year deal with New Orleans, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). "<strong

Franklin, 29, came to the Chargers as a free agent prior to the 2015 season, but he did not live up to his five-year, $35.5MM contract. He played in all 16 games last season – something he didn’t do in the previous year – but he also graded out as one of the seven worst qualified guards in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. In May, the Bolts cut him loose.

With a number of injuries on the offensive line – including starters Terron Armstead and Max Unger – adding depth was a major priority for the Saints. They’ve now added a veteran in Franklin, an interior lineman who also experience playing tackle from his days with the Broncos.

Franklin also met with the Jets on Tuesday, but it’s not clear whether the Jets made him an offer before his trip to New Orleans.

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Saints, Orlando Franklin Discussing Deal

Former Chargers guard Orlando Franklin visited the Saints on Wednesday and is discussing a deal with them, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Orlando Franklin (vertical)

[RELATED: Saints Don’t Expect Nick Fairley Return]

Franklin would be a logical fit for the Saints given the injuries they are dealing with on the offensive line. Left tackle Terron Armstead still has 3-5 months to go in his recovery after undergoing surgery on his torn labrum. It’s also not a certainty that center Max Unger will be ready for Week 1 after he had surgery earlier this year to fix a lingering foot issue. Both players are currently on the PUP list along with guard Senio Kelemete, a leading candidate to fill in for Unger if he misses time.

Franklin also met with the Jets on Tuesday.

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Saints Don’t Expect Nick Fairley Return

The heart condition that will shelve Saints defensive tackle Nick Fairley this year seems increasingly likely to end his career. Saints doctors don’t expect Fairley to return to the field, according to Joel Erickson of the Advocate, and head coach Sean Payton said Wednesday that the defender’s condition will not improve over time. Further, Payton added that he’s not aware of any procedure capable of fixing it.

Nick Fairley (Vertical)

Payton stopped short of declaring that’s Fairley done for good, saying: “I would never sit at this table and use that word never. As we sit here today, though, we’ve prepared ourselves for him not playing this season. … The good side to that is, fortunately, this was discovered not the hard way.”

It’s possible the Saints will attempt to recoup some of the money they awarded Fairley in free agency, when they re-signed him to a four-year, $28MM contract that includes $9MM in guarantees and an $8MM bonus. Speaking Wednesday, general manager Mickey Loomis didn’t rule out trying to recover some of Fairley’s contract.

“I’d rather not answer that, because I don’t know yet,” Loomis said. “I don’t know how it’s going to resolve itself. Those are difficult questions there. … We’re a lot more concerned about Nick himself than we are about that, although that is a concern.”

It could hurt New Orleans’ cause that its concerns over Fairley’s heart cropped up before the team handed him a new deal, and all 32 NFL clubs have been aware of his condition dating back to 2011. That was Fairley’s draft year, when the Lions chose him 13th overall. Fairley has been effective with the Lions, Rams and Saints over his six pro seasons, but it appears we’ve seen the last of the 29-year-old on the gridiron.

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Saints Cut Marcus Murphy, Move Chris Watt To Reserve/Retired List

  • The Saints have waived running back Marcus Murphy and moved offensive lineman Chris Watt to the reserved/retired list, tweets Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com. Murphy, whom the Saints chose in the seventh round of the 2015 draft, served almost exclusively as a return man over his first two years, but he became superfluous to the team thanks to its offseason additions of Ted Ginn Jr. and Alvin Kamara. Watt signed with the Saints just over a month ago and looked like a candidate to function as interior O-line depth. That won’t be the case, though. The 26-year-old entered the NFL as a third-rounder of the Chargers in 2014 and started in eight of 17 appearances with them through last season.

Saints Had Interest In Lucky Whitehead

  • Before he was claimed by the Jets, other teams that expressed interest in Lucky Whitehead were the Colts, Chiefs, and Saints, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (on Twitter) hears from one source. The Bears showed a little interest as well. Reading between the lines, it sounds like the Colts, Chiefs, and Saints may have placed waiver claims on Whitehead while the Bears were on the fence about it as Wednesday approached. Of course, after finishing with a 5-11 record last year, the Jets had higher waiver priority than most.

Saints Want Ramczyk Or Barnes To Win Left Tackle Job

With left tackle Terron Armstead is set to miss a portion of the 2017 season after undergoing labrum surgery, the Saints would prefer to place Ryan Ramczyk or Khalif Barnes on the blindside instead of shifting Andrus Peat from left guard, according to Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com. Barnes is the far more experienced option, as the 35-year-old has appeared in 151 games (117) starts during 11-year NFL career. Ramczyk, on the other hand, was just selected with the final pick of the first round in the 2017 draft. Peat, meanwhile, played left tackle at Stanford and has split time between tackle and guard with New Orleans.

  • Entering his third season as the Bears‘ general manager, Ryan Pace is building the Chicago roster in the mold of the Saints, the club with which Pace spent most of his career prior to heading to the Windy City, as Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times writes. Pace and the rest of the Chicago front office is clearly hoping No. 2 overall selection Mitch Trubisky turns into the next Drew Brees, but other points of comparison are apt, as well. Second-round tight end Adam Shaheen could have the game-breaking ability of a Jimmy Graham, while fourth-round running back Tarik Cohen may prove to be a passing game weapon like Darren Sproles.

Saints Working Out LB Bryan Braman

Special-teams maven Bryan Braman recently worked out for the Saints, as his agent Sean Stellato tells Mike Triplett of ESPN.com.Bryan Braman (Vertical)

Braman, 30, has appeared in 94 career games since entering the league as an undrafted free agent out of West Texas A&M in 2011, but has never started a contest. His core responsibilities have come on special teams with both the Texans (2011-14) and the Eagles (2014-16). Last year, for example, Braman played only three defensive snaps for Philadelphia, but saw action on 82.3% of the club’s special teams plays.

The Saints were extremely poor on special teams in 2016 (27th in DVOA), and have since replaced their special teams coordinator, hiring Brad Banta to replace Greg McMahon. Per Football Outsiders, New Orleans’ was particularly lacking on kick returns, as the club lost eight points of field position on such plays (30th in the NFL).

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Minor NFL Transactions: 7/25/17

Today’s minor moves:

  • The Saints have signed free agent Kristjan Sokoli, who will play as an offensive lineman, according to his agent Brett Tessler (Twitter link). Sokoli, a collegiate defender at Buffalo, was a 2010 draft choice of the Seahawks, who contemplated moving him to the offensive side of the ball. After playing only special teams for Seattle, Sokoli spent the 2016 season with the Colts (mostly on the practice squad) as a defensive end. In New Orleans, Sokoli will compete for a reserve interior line spot behind Andrus Peat and Larry Warford. The Saints have also signed cornerback Dejaun Butler, per the league’s transaction wire, and offensive lineman Martin Wallace, as his agent Paul Sheehy of ProStar Sports tweets.

Saints Place LB Dannell Ellerbe On IR

The Saints are placing linebacker Dannell Ellerbe on IR, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Once the veteran heals up from his foot injury, he’ll be waived by New Orleans. "<strong

[RELATED: Michael Mauti Re-Signs With Saints]

Ellerbe has struggled to stay healthy over the last three seasons, but he has shown that he can still be a difference maker when he is on the field. In 2016, Ellerbe tallied 44 total tackles and 4.0 sacks for the Saints across nine games. This year, he was expected to compete for the Saints’ starting weakside linebacker job. Now, we could see either rookie Alex Anzalone or the returning Hau’oli Kikaha on the first unit.

Per the terms of his restructured deal, it is believed that Ellerbe’s $1.7MM base salary for 2017 is fully guaranteed and his roster bonus of $750K is guaranteed for injury.

Since 2014, injuries have limited Ellerbe to just 16 total games.

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