Insider Nick Underhill reports that Saints WR Deonte Harris was arrested earlier this month and charged with DUI. Underhill notes that these situations usually result in a 2-game suspension. Harris caught just 20 balls last year but became more important in New Orleans after the Michael Thomas news. He remains off the redraft radar, especially with the impending suspension.
The Saints signed WR Chris Hogan. He has 216 NFL catches under his belt -- but just 22 have come over the past 2 seasons. Hogan turns 33 in October. He's not the answer to New Orleans' Michael Thomas-sized hole at WR.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport hears that Saints WR Michael Thomas (ankle) will debut in Week 7 this season "if everything goes perfect." Thomas elected not to undergo surgery on that ankle immediately after the season, evidently hoping it'd heal with rest and rehab. But he ended up having "major surgery" in early June, per Rapoport, and will need at least 4 months to recover. Thomas is expected to open the season on the PUP list, with the hope that he'll be ready to go following the Saints' Week 6 bye. And that sounds like the best-case scenario. He'll also miss a ton of valuable practice reps with QBs Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill. Thomas has gone from a value pick in Round 3 of fantasy drafts to a guy that you're probably better off just passing on unless you can land him super late.
Saints WR Michael Thomas is expected to miss the beginning of the regular season after June ankle surgery, according to NFL Network's ian Rapoport. Thomas reportedly needed ligaments repaired in the ankle, stemming from last September's injury. "It simply never recovered," Rapoport reports. Doctors reportedly recommend a 4-month recovery. From a June surgery date, that would stretch into October -- potentially costing Thomas half the season. We'll keep an eye out for more details. For now, at least, the Saints' top wideout becomes no more than a late-round fantasy pick. Tre'Quan Smith, Marquez Callaway and other Saints pass-catchers obviously stand to see their opportunities increase. We'll also see whether New Orleans dips into the trade market for WR help. NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reports that the team has been "nosing around" available free agents at the position.
Update: The Athletic reports that Thomas "may miss up to five games."
The Boston Globe's Ben Volin hears from "league sources" that QB Taysom Hill is the favorite to start for the Saints this season. "If the experiment fails, [HC Sean] Payton can fall back on [QB Jameis] Winston and a more traditional pocket-based offense and move Hill back to his Swiss Army Knife role," Volin writes. This is the 1st time all offseason we've heard someone call Hill the favorite in this battle. Multiple Saints beat writers -- plus NFL Network's Ian Rapoport -- have tabbed Winston the starter. We're still leaning in that direction, but this will be 1 of the biggest position battles for fantasy owners to track this summer.
Saints HC Sean Payton admitted that the team is still monitoring the ankle injury that cost WR Michael Thomas 9 games last year. “We still monitor it, pay attention to it, scan it, and all those things," Payton said. "He’s getting treatment and doing the things necessary. So, so far, so good.” It's slightly concerning that the issue isn't completely behind Thomas. But he's participating in minicamp, so the Saints obviously aren't too worried. Thomas remains a nice value pick in the 3rd round of fantasy drafts.
The Saints spent a 4th-round pick on Notre Dame QB Ian Book in the 2021 NFL Draft. Book spent most of the past 3 seasons starting for the Irish, tossing 68 TD passes vs. just 16 INTs over that span. He also sports some rushing upside, going for 1,311 yards and 17 TDs on the ground over that span. Book backed that up with a 4.65-second 40 at his pro day. Going to New Orleans obviously presents long-term opportunity upside if he can develop -- and if Jameis Winston doesn't simply take over the situation.
The Saints grabbed Ohio State LB Pete Werner in the 2nd round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Werner posted solid production over 3 starting seasons, especially the 15.5 tackles for loss and 13 passes defensed. He proved above average in speed score and agility. We'll see about his fit in the New Orleans LB corps.
The Saints picked DE Payton Turner with the 28th pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. Turner endured some injury issues in college after being a late-bloomer in high school. But he led this edge class in solo tackles per game (3.4) and tackles for loss per game (2.1). He joins a Saints defense that just lost Trey Hendrickson in free agency. Turner figures to start 3rd on the DE depth chart -- at best -- behind Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport. (New Orleans exercised the 5th-year option on Davenport on Thursday.)
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport's "read" is that Jameis Winston has the "leg up" on the Saints' starting QB job. Rapoport adds that there will be a competition between Winston and Taysom Hill this summer but that Winston "really impressed in practice" last year. Hill reportedly stepped in when Drew Brees went down only because HC Sean Payton had promised Hill that he'd get an opportunity. This will be 1 of the biggest training camp battles to track -- not only for Winston and Hill's fantasy values, but also Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara's.
QB Jameis Winston has inked a 1-year deal with the Saints that's worth "up to" $12 million, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. This move has been the league's worst-kept secret. Winston attempted just 11 passes for the Saints last season, but HC Sean Payton must have liked what he saw from the former #1 overall pick throughout the year. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport said yesterday that Winston is the Saints' "likely starter" this season -- but ESPN's Dianna Russini reported earlier today that Winston and Taysom Hill will compete for the starting job. Whoever is under center in New Orleans will have easy QB1 upside.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that the Saints have been working with QB Jameis Winston on a new contract and that he's hearing Winston will be the "likely starter" for New Orleans in 2021. The 2 sides obviously have to actually consummate that with a deal, but this is enough to make us push Winston up the QB rankings a bit -- and Hill down -- for our best-ball drafts.
According to Jeff Duncan of The Athletic, the Saints are “extremely high” on 2nd-year TE Adam Trautman. Duncan went so far as to name Trautman as his top “breakout candidate” for next season. As a rookie, the Dayton product saw just 16 targets behind Jared Cook. But he caught 15 of them for 171 yards (11.4 YPC) and 1 score. Duncan fully expects the cash-strapped Saints to move on from the high-priced Cook, who’s coming off a down season. Trautman, meanwhile, makes sense as a fringe TE2 or TE3 target in early FFPC drafts.
The Athletic's Larry Holder believes there's a "strong likelihood" that QB Jameis Winston will be the Saints' starter in 2021. It's an opinion, rather than a report -- but noteworthy nonetheless from a long-time Saints beat writer. New Orleans opted to start QB Taysom Hill instead of Winston when QB Drew Brees missed time this past season. But Holder says the Saints love Winston's arm talent and football IQ and believe HC Sean Payton can "mold" Winston to fit the system. We're a bit skeptical that Hill won't get a shot in 2021 considering he's due to make nearly $11 million. Winston, meanwhile, is set to become a free agent in March, so we'll see how aggressive the Saints are in bringing him back.
Saints WR Michael Thomas will "likely" have surgery this offseason to repair a torn deltoid and other injured ligaments in his ankle, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. Thomas hurt that ankle in Week 1, didn't return until Week 9 and played the rest of the way with pain medication, per Schefter. It's safe to say that Thomas was never at full strength after the opener. Assuming better health, he'll be a prime 2021 bounce-back candidate.
Saints WR Tre'Quan Smith (ankle) has been activated from IR. So he'll return for Sunday's game against the Bucs after missing the last 3. Smith figures to re-join Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders in 3-WR sets and has some appeal as a cheap DFS play.
The Saints are "not likely" to have RB Latavius Murray (quad) or QB Taysom Hill (knee) active for today's game against the Buccaneers, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Those absences would boost the touch and scoring upside for RB Alvin Kamara, as well as the scoring upside for QB Drew Brees. Hill has often replaced Brees near the goal line in recent weeks. Kamara has posted lackluster yardage totals in each meeting with Tampa this year but also scored on the ground and caught 5 passes in each game.
Saints QB Taysom Hill (knee) returned to a limited practice on Friday and is listed as questionable for this weekend's game vs. the Bucs. The versatile Hill's absence would be a tangible blow to New Orleans' offense -- but boost the outlooks for QB Drew Brees and RB Alvin Kamara.
Saints RB Latavius Murray (quad) is questionable for Sunday's game vs. the Bucs after returning a limited practice on Friday. He's expected to be a game-time decision. We'll look for further updates but might not know Murray's status until a little after 6 pm ET on Sunday.