New Orleans Saints Rumors & News

Saints Convert Terron Armstead's Roster Bonus To Signing Bonus

  • The Saints converted left tackle Terron Armstead‘s $5MM roster bonus to a signing bonus, thereby creating $4MM in cap room for 2017, reports Field Yates of ESPN (Twitter link). The move doesn’t come without a penalty, though, as the Saints will add $1MM in cap charges in each season from from 2018-21 – the final four years of Armstead’s contract.

Saints Draft Notes: Mahomes, Williams

New Orleans, meanwhile, has a 38-year-old under center in Drew Brees, meaning there’s more urgency for the club to find its next passer than there is for the Chargers. With that in mind, Saints head coach Sean Payton, offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael and members of the team’s front office traveled to Lubbock to work out Mahomes on Tuesday, according to NFL.com. “They said every time they see me under center, I look better and better,” Mahomes said of the Saints, who currently own three of the draft’s first 45 selections (Nos. 11, 32 and 42).

  • A Saints representative had dinner with Utah free safety Marcus Williams on Wednesday, writes Herbie Teope of NOLA.com. Williams is a ballhawk “who will make plays in the passing game, but he needs to improve in run support,” observes Jeremiah, who ranks him as this year’s 47th-best draft-eligible player.

Saints Re-Sign DL Darryl Tapp

The Saints announced that they have re-signed defensive lineman Darryl Tapp. Terms of the deal are not yet known. "<strongDarryl

Heading into today, we had Tapp ranked as the ninth-best edge defender left in free agency, placing him ahead of guys like Devin Taylor, Eugene Sims, Howard Jones, Wallace Gilberry, Sam Acho. Notables like Dwight Freeney, Elvis Dumervil, Chris Long, Mario Williams, Connor Barwin, Paul Kruger, Trent Cole, Erik Walden, and Jason Jones remain on the board.

Tapp, 33 in September, appeared in all 16 games for the Saints and now has three consecutive seasons of perfect regular season attendance. He had just 17 tackles and half a sack last season, but the advanced metrics were fond of his work. He graded out as the 43rd best edge defender in the league last year out of 109 qualified players, according to Pro Football Focus. The 78.0 overall score was his best showing since 2012.

With the re-signing of Tapp, the Saints now have five defensive ends on their roster (Cameron Jordan, Paul Kruger, Obum Gwacham and D.J. Pettway are the others). The only member of the group with multiple sacks last year was Jordan, who finished with a team-leading 7.5 on a club that had the sixth fewest in the NFL. Thus, it stands to reason that the Saints will continue looking for edge rushers, especially in the draft.

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Saints Interested In Johnny Manziel?

Drew Brees isn’t getting any younger and the Saints have to start thinking about who his successor might be. As the Saints explore backup QBs (and potential heirs), an unlikely name has popped up. Saints coach Sean Payton appears to have taken an interest in Johnny Manziel, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Payton and Manziel were spotted together having breakfast during Super Bowl week, he adds, and they discussed a return to football. There are no indications that the Saints are planning to sign him at this time, Mike Triplett of ESPN.com writes, but things can change.Johnny Manziel (vertical)

As Rapoport notes, the Saints could still take on another backup for Brees in 2017. As of this writing, Luke McCown is the only other QB on the roster, but I can’t imagine that a Manziel signing would displace him. McCown knows the playbook and would give New Orleans a safety net in the event that Manziel’s demons reemerge.

In early March, there was word that Manziel was drawing “real” NFL interest. Manziel says he is sober and focusing on his comeback and he’s reportedly willing to volunteer himself for drug testing. Of course, if he gets signed, the NFL will force Manziel to take frequent drug tests anyway. He’ll also likely have to serve a suspension before taking the field.

Manziel’s off-field behavior cost him his roster spot in Cleveland, but he didn’t do that much on the field either. The now 24-year-old made eight starts and played in 15 total games for Cleveland, completing 57% of his passes for 1,675 yards with seven touchdowns against seven interceptions. His overall passer rating was 74.4.

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Saints Met With Fabian Moreau

  • UConn safety Obi Melifonwu has meetings lined up with the Steelers, Seahawks, and Saints, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Meanwhile, Melifonwu met “extensively” with the Lions yesterday, and will also visit with the Panthers, according to Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com, who reports roughly 40% of NFL clubs view Melifonwu as a cornerback. Melifonwu, a four-year starter for the Huskies, posted four interceptions during the 2016 campaign.
  • Prior to possibly injuring his pectoral while bench pressing on Tuesday, UCLA cornerback Fabian Moreau spent time with the Lions, Dolphins, Saints, and Bengals, reports Pauline. Additionally, Moreau met with Cowboys defensive backs Joe Baker, per Pauline. Rob Rang of CBSSports.com projected Moreau as a back-end first round pick (and the third-best cornerback on the board) before news of his injury broke.

Saints Notes: Moore, Kamara, Te'o

  • Prior to re-signing with the Saints, defensive back Sterling Moore came close to joining another — as yet unidentified — club, as he detailed to SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter link). A career journeyman prior to 2016, Moore started 12 games for New Orleans last season. As Moore explains, the Saints circled back to him with an offer after he’d been negotiating with another team, allowing him the return he’d always preferred. Moore, 27, earned $760K last year.
  • Tennessee running back Alvin Kamara is expected to meet with the Saints on Wednesday, tweets Sean Fazende of WVUE FOX 8. Kamara, who recently fired his agent, could sneak into Round 1 despite being viewed as a Day 2 prospect for most of last year. A committee back with the Volunteers, Kamara managed less than 1,300 yards rushing during two years in Tennessee, but also averaged more than six yards per carry during that time.
  • Manti Te’o‘s two-year deal with the Saints is worth $5MM with $600K guaranteed, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Te’o can earn $500K annually in per-game roster bonuses, according to Rapoport, and can rake in another $1MM per year in incentives, tweets Wilson.

Saints To Re-Sign Sterling Moore

The Saints are re-signing cornerback Sterling Moore, according to Nick Underhill of The Advocate (on Twitter). We had Moore ranked as one of the ten best cornerbacks remaining on the open market. Sterling Moore (Vertical)

[RELATED: Top Defensive Free Agents By Position]

After earning only $760K last season under the terms of a minimum salary benefit contract, Moore was expected to get a pay bump for 2017. The Saints have yet to go out-of-house to improve their secondary this offseason. Right now, Delvin Breaux and P.J. Williams are slated to start at the corner spots with Moore as one of their primary reserves. If the Saints can land restricted free agent Malcolm Butler, their secondary will be looking a whole lot stronger.

Moore, 27, joined the Saints last year after a one-year stint with the Bucs. He had 56 total tackles with two interceptions in his 13 games (12 starts). Moore graded as the Saints’ best corner, per Pro Football Focus, which placed Moore as the No. 65 CB league-wide.

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Saints To Sign LB Manti Te’o

Manti Te’o has agreed to a deal with the Saints, a source tells ESPN.com’s Mike Triplett (Twitter link). The linebacker will receive a two-year deal. "<strong

Te’o, the 38th overall pick in the 2013 draft, has been hindered by injuries throughout his career. As a rookie in 2013, Te’o suffered a foot injury in the preseason which sidelined him for the first part of the regular season. In the following year, the linebacker missed six games due to a foot fracture. In 2015, Te’o missed four games as the result of an ankle injury.

All told, the Notre Dame product has managed only 30 starts in four years with the Chargers, and he hasn’t been especially productive. Still, he ranks as the No. 7 free agent linebacker on PFR’s updated list, mostly based on potential upside.

The Saints have remade their linebacker group a bit this offseason, adding middle linebacker A.J. Klein and outside linebacker Alex Okafor. The addition of Te’o would give New Orleans nine LBs in total, for the time being. It’s not clear how New Orleans will use Te’o given the presence of Klein and last year’s starting middle linebacker Craig Robertson. Robertson, in theory, could see time on the outside, allowing Te’o to play predominantly in the middle. Klein could also see some snaps at outside linebacker, but the inside is his best position.

Dan Graziano of ESPN.com (on Twitter) first reported that a deal was close.

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Butler, Saints “Not Far Apart” On Offer?

Malcolm Butler‘s camp and the Saints continue to exchange proposals about a potential offer sheet for the fourth-year cornerback. The sides at this point are not far apart on terms, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter).

The communication is unfolding entirely between the Saints and Butler, per Rapoport, who adds (Twitter link) the Patriots have not had discussions with the Saints — well, at least on the Butler front — or the cornerback and won’t until he signs his RFA tender.

Butler is a restricted free agent on whom the Patriots placed a first-round tender worth $3.91MM. The Saints are reportedly “enamored” with Butler, according to Michael Giardi of CSNNE.com, who also notes the sides have the parameters of a deal mostly in place. Guaranteed money’s an issue, per Giardi.

A Saints offer sheet that the Patriots don’t match would result in New Orleans’ No. 11 overall pick going to New England. Of course, Butler could sign his $3.91MM tender, and the teams could discuss a different exchange. Sending a pick that high for a 27-year-old talent might be a bit extreme, with Butler wanting top-10 cornerback money, but the Saints are serious about upgrading one of the league’s worst defenses as they showed with the Brandin Cooks trade. They acquired the Pats’ No. 32 overall pick for Cooks, who won’t turn 24 until September.

Butler has until June 15 to sign the RFA tender, which the Patriots can withdraw on that date and pay Butler 110 percent of his 2016 salary ($600K). The former UDFA visited New Orleans last week.

The Saints endured a rough 2016 at cornerback, with key cogs going down with injuries. They have Delvin Breaux, who will make just $619K in the final season of his three-year deal, along with P.J. Williams tentatively slated as their top corners. Both missed extensive time due to injuries last season. Breaux and Butler both played well in full-season breakouts in 2015, but Butler continued that pace last year while the 27-year-old Breaux played in only six games.

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Chase Daniel Visiting Saints

Free agent quarterback Chase Daniel is meeting with the Saints today, reports Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter link).Chase Daniel (vertical)

Daniel, 30, spent the first three years of his career in New Orleans after entering the league as an undrafted free agent. He only attempted nine passes during that time while backing up Drew Brees, and he’d be coming to the Saints as a clear-cut No. 2 signal-caller once again. Given that the Eagles were unable to trade Daniel earlier this month, it’s perhaps unsurprising that he may have to accept a backup job without the chance to start.

Daniel inked a lucrative contract with the Eagles last offeason that made him one of the highest-paid backup quarterbacks in the NFL. Despite his paycheck, Daniel is very inexperienced as an NFL passer, as he’s attempted only 78 passes during his seven-year career. Still, as many as six teams were interested in Daniel last year before he signed with Philadelphia, so he figures to have suitors as a free agent this time around.

At present, the Saints have veteran Luke McCown and former third-round pick Garrett Grayson under contract behind Brees.

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