Tight ends: Contract breakdown for the New Orleans Saints

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Sep 26, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints tight end Coby Fleener (82) walks off the field following a loss against the Atlanta Falcons in a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Falcons defeated the Saints 45-32. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 26, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints tight end Coby Fleener (82) walks off the field following a loss against the Atlanta Falcons in a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Falcons defeated the Saints 45-32. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports /
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Aug 26, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints tight end Chris Manhertz (86) breaks a tackle by Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Doran Grant (24) during a preseason game. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 26, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints tight end Chris Manhertz (86) breaks a tackle by Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Doran Grant (24) during a preseason game. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports /

Chris Manhertz

Two years, $990,000, through 2017

Chris Manhertz came into the league having never played organized football. He was a basketball player. He signed with the Bills in 2015 but failed to make the preseason roster, then went on to spend the 2015 season on the Saints practice squad.

Saints fans are familiar with the trope of ex-basketball playing tight ends. But there’s a reason for the connection: Manhertz fits the mold of those big, strong, and agile tight ends who know how to seal defenders with their body.

Two years into his football career, Manhertz is of course still raw. But when Michael Hoomanawanui went down with a leg injury, the Saints promoted Manhertz to the active over other intriguing prospects like TE/LS Garrett Griffin. Payton clearly likes what he’s seen from the young prospect.

And his tape has been positive, while not overwhelming. He is more of a blocking tight end at this point in his career; the Saints haven’t asked him to run many routes, likely because he’s still unpolished in that field. But he’s got a future with this team. And with a cap hit of $450,000, the Saints are getting solid bang for their buck here.

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