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#pounditSaturday, September 24, 2022

Articles tagged: New Orleans Saints

Report: NFC team to intensify pursuit of Tyrann Mathieu

Tyrann Mathieu at the Pro Bowl

Feb 3, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) during AFC practice for the Pro Bowl at Las Vegas Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Tyrann Mathieu has been in no rush to sign with a team in free agency, but the veteran safety may not be available much longer now that the draft has come and gone.

The New Orleans Saints hosted Mathieu for a visit several weeks ago. Mathieu downplayed the meeting and said he does not think the Saints really need him, but they may feel otherwise. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Saints are expected to make an “aggressive push” to sign Mathieu after they did not draft a safety.

Mathieu is from New Orleans and still has family there. He said his visit with the Saints last month was more about seeing family than anything. Other NFC teams have since been mentioned as more likely suitors for Mathieu, but the Saints are serious about trying to sign him.

Mathieu, 29, had 76 tackles, a sack and three interceptions in 16 games with the Kansas City Chiefs last season.

Saints GM explains decision behind big draft trade with Eagles

Mickey Loomis in a suit

Nov 19, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; Mickey Loomis, the executive vice president and General Manager of the New Orleans Saints before the game against the Washington Redskins at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints will be one of the more active teams when the NFL Draft begins on Thursday night. They have a pair of picks in the top 20 and plan to use them.

During the Saints’ pre-draft press conference on Wednesday, GM Mickey Loomis was asked to explain why he made the decision to exchange draft picks with the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this month.

In the deal, the Eagles traded pick Nos. 16, 19 and 194 to the Saints in exchange for pick No. 18, a 2023 first-round pick, a second-round pick in 2024 and two additional picks in Rounds 3 and 7 in 2022.

Loomis shared his reasoning behind the trade.

“For us, it’s an opportunity to get another good player a year ahead of time, for a value that we like,” Loomis told reporters.

“We wouldn’t make a deal if we didn’t think we were going to end up with a good player in that spot, but it’s never foolproof.”

The trade with Philly indicate the Saints intend to compete rather than rebuild. The Saints could have their choice of multiple NFL-ready players at positions of need by the middle of Round 1, which is why it would make sense to hold on to both the No. 16 and No. 19 picks.

The wide receiver class figures to move quickly, and if the Saints want to improve on their league-worst 202.2 receiving yards per game in 2021, drafting a wide receiver would seem to be a necessity. It’s one of the deeper positions in the draft, and Jameson Williams, Chris Olave, Drake London or Garrett Wilson could still be available at pick 16 or 19.

Offensive tackle is another position of need for the Saints after the departure of Terron Armstead, who signed a five-year deal with the Miami Dolphins this offseason.

Mississippi State’s Charles Cross, Central Michigan’s Bernhard Raimann and Northern Iowa’s Trevor Penning could all still be on the board for the Saints with either pick.

The Saints have had reported interest in one quarterback as well, although Loomis did not want to discuss the position on Wednesday.

Fans won’t have to wait much longer to get their answer as to what exactly the Saints will do in the first round.

Round 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft begins on Thursday, followed by Rounds 2 and 3 on April 29, and the final four rounds on April 30.

Report: 2 teams appear certain to pick first-round QB

Malik Willis at the Scouting Combine

Mar 2, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Liberty Flames quarterback Malik Willis during the NFL Combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The 2022 NFL Draft is not viewed as one of the stronger quarterback classes in recent memory. Despite that, at least two teams are reportedly likely to select a quarterback in the first round.

The New Orleans Saints and Pittsburgh Steelers both look like a “sure bet” to select a quarterback in round one, according to Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network. The Seattle Seahawks may also look to draft a quarterback, but would have to trade up into the first round in order to do it.

In all likelihood, both of these picks would be developmental options. The Saints and Steelers both signed veteran placeholders in Jameis Winston and Mitchell Trubisky during the offseason, and do not appear desperate to bring in a rookie starter. Neither team, however, has a surefire long-term quarterback on the roster at this stage.

There is always a chance that some team throws a huge curveball on draft night. In all likelihood, though, it will be some time before a quarterback comes off the board in round one.

Drew Brees disagrees with Saints’ handling of Taysom Hill

Drew Brees smiling at practice

Aug 23, 2018; Costa Mesa, CA, USA: New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) reacts during joint practice against the Los Angeles Chargers at the Jack. R. Hammett Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Drew Brees still has plenty of opinions on how the New Orleans Saints should run their offense. One of those opinions may put him on a different footing than the organization.

Brees sat down for an interview with Jeff Duncan of NOLA.com and discussed several issues facing the Saints, including the team’s quarterback situation. When asked if the Saints were going to draft a quarterback, Brees felt that wasn’t necessary. One of the reasons, he said, was they could and should still make use of Taysom Hill’s skillset.

“I still am a believer that Taysom should be playing 10-15 snaps at quarterback a game at a minimum, just with the threat he is,” Brees said.

Brees has seen Hill up close, so it’s not as if he does not know what he’s talking about here. That said, the Saints do not seem to agree. Reports from earlier in the offseason suggested that the Saints are pulling the plug on Hill as a quarterback. Another report outlined what the organization plans to do with him instead.

If the Saints really are going to stop giving Hill snaps at quarterback, Brees may be disappointed. Still, Hill has not shown a great deal in the opportunities he has gotten. The Saints may be well-served taking advantage of his versatility in other ways.

Jarvis Landry to visit with NFC South contender

Jarvis Landry in Browns gear

Aug 20, 2020; Berea, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry (80) during training camp at the Cleveland Browns training facility. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Jarvis Landry’s free agency may be moving closer to a conclusion.

The veteran wide receiver will visit the New Orleans Saints on Wednesday, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN. The Saints are looking for receiver depth, and could be a fit for Landry.

In an overheated wide receiver market, Landry has had trouble finding a new team. Part of that may be down to reported contract demands that will look excessive to some. The 29-year-old remains productive when healthy, and caught 15 touchdowns in his four seasons with the Cleveland Browns.

Reports indicate that the Browns are still interested in bringing Landry back after making him a cap casualty earlier in the offseason. One figures Landry wants to explore his options since he’s still available despite that interest.

Do Saints have their eye on specific QB in NFL Draft?

Dennis Allen in a headset

Dec 19, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen serves as head coach as Sean Payton has Covid-19 during the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints re-signed Jameis Winston this offseason to a hefty deal that signals they plan on him being their starting quarterback. That does not mean they will ignore the position in the draft, however.

Jeff Duncan of NOLA.com wrote recently that he believes the Saints have legitimate interest in former Pitt star Kenny Pickett. If New Orleans selects a quarterback, Duncan predicts it will be Pickett.

The Saints have done quite a bit of pre-draft work on Pickett. They also traded up a couple of spots in the first round as part of a recent pick swap with the Philadelphia Eagles. They currently have the 16th and 18th overall picks. If they want Pickett, they may have to move even further up the board.

Even if the Saints believe in Winston as their starter, Duncan said he has no doubt they would be willing to trade up for Pickett or any other QB if they have one graded highly enough.

The 2022 quarterback class is not viewed as particularly deep. There is really no player at the position who is considered a can’t-miss prospect. One recent report claimed Pickett is at the top of an NFC team’s draft board, but there is very little consensus among analysts. Perhaps the Saints will swoop in with a surprise move on draft day.

Tyrann Mathieu reveals stance on Saints after meeting

Tyrann Mathieu at the Pro Bowl

Tyrann Mathieu made an intriguing visit to the New Orleans Saints on Tuesday, but even he has doubts about whether a fit exists between the two parties.

The veteran safety and New Orleans native visited the Saints, but did so while visiting with family. In other words, the visit was not the primary reason Mathieu was in New Orleans, which would seemingly make it less significant.

Mathieu said the chance to play for the Saints would be a “great opportunity,” but admitted that the team probably does not need him.

“Those guys have done a great thing,” Mathieu said, via Wilson Alexander of The Advocate. “The last couple years, they’ve been like top 5 in defense. I don’t think they really need me, but it would be good to go back home and help them win.”

Mathieu is certainly clear-eyed about the situation. The Saints already signed safety Marcus Maye to a $28.5 million contract last March, and C.J. Gardner-Johnson is poised to handle the other safety position. That really doesn’t leave room for Mathieu, who is getting more realistic interest from elsewhere.

Photo: Feb 3, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) during AFC practice for the Pro Bowl at Las Vegas Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Tyrann Mathieu visits Saints, but there reportedly is a catch

Tyrann Mathieu at the Pro Bowl

Tyrann Mathieu is a free agent and apparently enjoying the process of being wooed. He visited with the Saints on Tuesday, but New Orleans fans shouldn’t get their hopes up yet.

NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport said that the Mathieu was making the visit while in New Orleans with family and friends. Rapoport also said nothing was imminent between the sides.

Had Mathieu gone out of his way to fly to a destination for the sole purpose of visiting with a team, that would have been a bigger deal. But if Mathieu was already in New Orleans for other reasons, and is just happening to take the visit to the Saints, then maybe fans shouldn’t get too excited.

Mathieu had 76 tackles, a sack and three interceptions in 16 games with the Chiefs last season. He remains a premier safety, and the Chiefs decided they couldn’t afford him.

Mathieu turns 30 next month and also reportedly has received interest from the Steelers.

Photo: Feb 3, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) during AFC practice for the Pro Bowl at Las Vegas Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Eagles, Saints shake up draft with major pick swap

Howie Roseman speaks with the media

The NFL Draft is still weeks away, but the Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans Saints have already agreed to a major pick swap.

The Eagles, who originally had three first-round picks in this year’s draft, have traded the No. 16, No. 19, and No. 194 pick to the New Orleans Saints in exchange for No. 18, a 2023 first-round pick and more. Here’s the full breakdown of the deal:

By making the trade, the Eagles now have two picks in the first 18 selections this year and two picks in the first round next year. As ESPN’s Adam Schefter noted, that likely signals that they are going to give Jalen Hurts another year to prove himself. The 2023 draft is considered much deeper at the quarterback position, and the Eagles are now positioned to target a top QB a year from now if they need to.

The Saints now have three picks in the top 50 this year.

Eagles general manager Howie Roseman has always shown a willingness to swap picks, so the deal is hardly a shock. On paper, it looks like another smart one for Philadelphia.

Photo: Jul 28, 2021; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman speaks with the media at training camp at NovaCare Complex. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Jameis Winston was bothered by Saints’ Deshaun Watson pursuit

Jameis Winston with the Saints

The New Orleans Saints always appeared most likely to return to Jameis Winston as their quarterback for 2022. However, the team was heavily involved in the pursuit of Deshaun Watson.

Winston admitted that he was a bit upset by the Saints’ public flirtation with Watson. However, he is now grateful that the process forced him and the Saints to have “tough conversations” about how the team views him.

“I think that was the best part of this free agency process with me is because there were a bunch of tough conversations that I had with our coaches and with people on the business side of everything,” Winston said, via Katherine Terrell of The Athletic. “And I know if their pursuit of Deshaun didn’t happen, I would not have been able to have that growth and those conversations with people in important roles. So I’m actually thankful that everything turned out how it did because we did have to have tough conversations. We had to have conversations that probably I didn’t want to have or that they didn’t want to have. But it ended up leading to this now.”

Part of the issue for Winston was not just the pursuit of Watson, but the fact that the team has a new head coach in Dennis Allen. Winston wanted to know how the Saints viewed him and if he still had the confidence of the team’s coaching staff.

Reports consistently indicated that the Saints were just fine bringing Winston back. They owed it to themselves to see if they could land Watson, who is a superior quarterback. When they didn’t get him, they were fine going back to their safe secondary option. Winston seems to get that.

Photos: Dec 25, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston (2) before their game against the Minnesota Vikings at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports