According to The Times-Picayune, the New Orleans Saints have decided to extend the contract of reserve offensive lineman Senio Kelemete, giving him the opportunity to contend for a roster spot this upcoming season.
A Seattle native out of the University of Washington, Kelemete is an exclusive-rights free agent, which means the Black and Gold can preserve his talents in the Big Easy by offering him a one-year contract. The deal must be worth at least $585,000, which is the NFL‘s minimum for his experience. As reported, the Saints plan to exercise that option.
As a Husky at Washington, Kelemete was a team captain, earning an All-Pac 12 second-team selection in 2011 before being drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
He actually became the first offensive lineman in league history to make a reception in his debut when he caught a deflected pass from Brian Hoyer for 10 yards. After his time in Arizona, Kelemete was signed to the Saints practice squad in 2013.
Kelemete was the only exclusive-rights free agent on the Saints’ 2014 roster. Once the extension is officially exercised, New Orleans will have 62 players under agreement for 2015. Of course, that number will be trimmed down to 53 before the regular season begins.
With the guard position weak on the left side where Ben Grubbs is the current governor, Kelemete could potentially compete for a starting job in 2015. Right guard Jahri Evans is also dealing with some setbacks after undergoing a surgery to repair a torn ligament in his wrist, but he is expected to return for OTAs.
Kelemete is an excellent, versatile athlete, playing on both the defensive and offensive lines at Washington. He comes off the ball fast, putting himself in great positions for blocks. It will be interesting to see whether or not the 6-foot-3, 300 pound lineman can make a difference in the critical protection of QB Drew Brees in 2015.