The Saints added former Rams and Dolphins back Malcolm Brown, doing so on a day in which they also signed center Nick Martin. The Brown addition comes after a fairly thorough look into the position this offseason, while Martin — after five years with the Texans and one with the Raiders — should be expected to compete for a backup job.
New Orleans brought in both Sony Michel and David Johnson this year, while also auditioning USFL Offensive Player of the Year Darius Victor. Johnson is believed to have come with too high a price tag for the Saints, per NFL.com’s Jane Slater (video link). The Michel workout also came just before the former Patriots and Rams starter signed with the Dolphins, who opted to let Brown walk as they transitioned to a new coaching staff.
Although Mark Ingram is positioned to be Kamara’s top backup, Slater adds the Saints would not plan to use the 33-year-old as a full-timer at this stage of his career. Brown coming in provides insurance, with a Kamara suspension — for a February brawl in Las Vegas that led to an arrest and a civil lawsuit — potentially coming down this season. A Kamara ban would obviously make a significant impact on the Saints’ offense, judging by how it looked last season when the Pro Bowl back missed time, but Brown does provide a potential upgrade alongside Ingram.
Brown, 29, suffered a quadriceps injury last season; he played just seven games during his short Dolphins tenure. While Brown rushed for just 125 yards in 2021, he gained 419 and scored five touchdowns as part of a 2020 Rams committee. The former Todd Gurley backup also held regular special teams roles in Los Angeles, giving him a potential boost to make New Orleans’ 53-man roster. The Saints also have veteran special-teamer Dwayne Washington, recent signing Devine Ozigbo and third-year back Tony Jones on their 90-man offseason roster.
Martin, also 29, worked as Houston’s full-time starting center from 2017-20, earning an extension in that time. Despite missing his entire rookie season, Martin has proven durable since. He has not missed a game since 2017, when he was sidelined for two, and has 62 career starts. The former second-round pick, however, did not start a game for the Raiders in 2021, and lingered in free agency for months. He joins Forrest Lamp and Josh Andrews as notable Saints interior O-line depth. The team’s inside trio of Andrus Peat, Erik McCoy and Cesar Ruiz is set.