Shortly after the 49ers cut Kevin White, the former top-10 pick found a new home. The Saints are signing the veteran wide receiver, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.
White participated in a Saints workout Tuesday, joining fellow wideouts Bennie Fowler, Devin White and Malachi Dupre. Reeling at wide receiver, New Orleans will give White another opportunity.
The West Virginia product played in three 49ers games last season but has not made a regular-season reception since 2018. White, 28, battled injuries throughout his Bears tenure and later caught on with the Cardinals and 49ers. San Francisco cut White last week. Despite their injury issues at wideout, the Saints will give one of the NFL’s most injury-prone players a chance to help fill this void.
New Orleans is expected to be without Michael Thomas for months, and would-be starter Tre’Quan Smith just returned to practice Tuesday after missing two weeks due to a leg injury. The Saints released Emmanuel Sanders this offseason and did not heavily address the receiver position in the draft, which has helped put former UDFA Marquez Callaway in a strong position to contribute this season.
Jordan Matthews has found his next team. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reports (via Twitter) that the veteran wideout (and hopeful tight end) is signing with the 49ers. The team has waived wideout Bennie Fowler to make room on the roster (via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle on Twitter).
Matthews has bounced on and off the 49ers roster since 2019, although that’s only resulted in three appearances with the organization. Now, the veteran is hoping to reinvent himself as a tight end; the 6-foot-3 target has added 30 pounds this offseason, which should give him the weight to play the position. Matthews also worked out with teammate (and fellow tight end) George Kittle.
Matthews, a former second-round pick, had at least 800 receiving yards in each of his first three NFL seasons, but he’s struggled to match that production over the past few years. Since 2017, Matthews has hauled in only 49 receptions for 615 yards and three scores. The 29-year-old is hoping the position change will help jump start his career.
We heard that a handful of teams had their eye on the veteran, but the only squad that had been definitively connected to Matthews were the Titans and Jets. Instead of joining the AFC, Matthews will be sticking in San Francisco, and he’ll have a good opportunity to make the roster behind Kittle. The veteran will be competing with Charlie Woerner, Ross Dwelley, MyCole Pruitt, and Josh Pederson for snaps.
Fowler, 30, joined the 49ers back in May. The wideout has appeared in 68 career games, hauling in 97 receptions for 1,101 yards and six touchdowns. He saw time in five games for the Saints in 2020, catching two passes for 11 yards.
Well, that was fast. On Friday, the 49ers released wide receiver Marqise Lee. In a related move, they’ve signed fellow wideout Bennie Fowler to take his place on the roster.
The one-time Jaguars notable signed with the Niners on May 17. A few short days later, he finds himself looking for work once again. Lee made a decent impression on coaches during the 49ers’ rookie minicamp practices and was hoping to stick. It appeared to be a good landing spot for him, especially since he grew up in California and played his college ball at USC.
Between 2016 and 2017, Lee averaged about 60 receptions and 776 receiving yards. He went on to land a four-year, $38MM extension from Jacksonville, but that deal was cut short. Between knee injuries and the COVID opt-out, he’s seen just six games since the end of ’17.
Fowler, meanwhile, has spent the last two years with the Giants. He wasn’t on the field much in 2020, snagging just two receptions before a season-ending shoulder injury.
September 12th, 2020 at 4:10pm CST by Sam Robinson
Here are Saturday’s minor moves. Many of these roster decisions involve practice squad promotions. Under the new CBA, teams are permitted to promote two P-squad players without corresponding roster moves per week. Teams can carry 55 players on their rosters for game days and can have up to 48 active.
Two of the Saints’ most notable Saturday cuts will stay with the team. Both Anthony Chickillo and Margus Hunt opted to stay with New Orleans, joining the practice squad Sunday.
The Saints signed Chickillo, a five-year Steelers linebacker, and Hunt — a former first-round defensive lineman whom the Colts cut earlier this year — earlier this year. Each will represent a veteran slot on the Saints’ P-squad.
Teams are permitted, thanks to the COVID-19-altered rules, to carry six veterans of unlimited service time on their taxi squads this year. Here is New Orleans’ full squad:
The Saints made some notable cuts on their defensive line, dropping Edwards and Hunt. The former played with New Orleans last season, while the latter was an offseason addition. The Colts cut Hunt earlier this year, doing so after previously extending him. However, New Orleans does have Malcom Brown back and re-signed David Onyemata in March. The Saints are pursuing Jadeveon Clowney as well.
Alonso suffered a torn ACL in the playoffs last year. He will miss at least six games. The Saints signed Fowler over the summer. The former Broncos auxiliary receiver worked out with Drew Brees and Emmanuel Sanders during the pandemic-induced NFL hiatus.
Stevens, like most of the players cut Saturday, profiles as a practice squad candidate. The Saints became involved in a strange controversy over the seventh-round pick, whom the Panthers coveted. It will be interesting to see if Carolina submits a waiver claim on Stevens.
Having battled three different types of cancer and being set to turn 68 in October, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians falls into the higher-risk category for potential coronavirus complications. But Arians will coach this season, and he is not planning to do so from the press box. The second-year Bucs HC will coach from the sideline while wearing a mask and a face shield, he said recently.
“As far as on the field, I’ll maintain a mask and probably a shield just for personal use and coach like I’ve always coached,” Arians said. “I’m very confident. Like I said, the protocols that are in place are extremely safe.”
Arians has had cancerous tumors to be removed from his prostate, skin and kidney. He enters the season as NFL’s third-oldest head coach, behind Pete Carroll, who are both 68. Two head coaches — Sean Payton and Doug Pederson — have tested positive for COVID-19 thus far. The Eagles HC tested positive earlier this week. Players and coaches are currently being tested daily. This arrangement will continue for two weeks before the league reassesses.
Here is the latest from the NFC South:
Russell Okung dealt with a health scare last year but did not opt out of the 2020 season. However, the Panthers‘ recently acquired left tackle is considering retirement. But Okung will wait on a decision for now. The 11th-year veteran will keep his options open as he goes further into camp, advisor J.I. Halsell told NFL reporter Josina Anderson (Twitter link). It’s possible the 31-year-old blocker wants to learn more about what this season’s COVID-19-defined environment will bring. Okung has a $13MM salary awaiting him this season but has already made a considerable amount of money in his career.
Emmanuel Sanders made the initial contact between he and the Saints in free agency, the 11th-year wide receiver said, per The Athletic’s Katherine Terrell (on Twitter). The former Steelers, Broncos and 49ers wideout wanted to play with Drew Brees in New Orleans, and that helped lead to the two-year, $16MM deal he signed in March. Sanders also assisted the Saints with another free agent receiver, with a Brees-Sanders-Bennie Fowler workout in Denver leading to the latter’s signing this week (Twitter link via Terrell).
Given Brees’ year-to-year status, the Saints are obviously not eyeing a contract-year trade of Alvin Kamara. But no known extension talks have taken place between the Saints and their standout back. However, a deal that pays the three-down back just less than what Christian McCaffrey and Ezekiel Elliott make ($16MM and $15MM AAV, respectively) is a solution The Athletic’s Larry Holder envisions (subscription required). Kamara, one of several running back starters in contract years, has said he wants to stay in New Orleans.