Willie Snead has had an uphill battle in his young NFL career, and that’s putting it lightly.
After the conclusion of the 2014 NFL Draft, Willie Snead received a phone call and signed as an undrafted free agent with the Cleveland Browns. Yeah, the Browns. A place seen as a career killer for so many. A place where talented players seem to go and never fulfill the promising careers they had dreamed of.
Snead came into the league out of Ball State, ranking second in school history in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. The two-time Biletnikoff Award Semifinalist, which is awarded to the best receiver in college football, was seen as a sleeper and someone who could come into the league and do good things.
And good things he did. He played well in the preseason and made it to the final round of cuts for Cleveland before being cut before the start of the regular season. After a failed tryout for the Giants, Snead was signed to the practice squad in Carolina for two months before again being released. New Orleans signed him just a few days later.
2015 proved to be a better year for the second-year talent, as Snead made the final roster in New Orleans, even starting in the team’s last nine games.
Snead finished the season second on the team with 984 yards on 69 catches, trailing only Brandin Cooks. His 984 receiving yards also broke the NFL record for most receiving yards by an undrafted rookie. 2016 turned out to be nearly just as successful, even while competing with Cooks and rookie Michael Thomas for targets. He finished the year with 72 receptions for 895 yards and four touchdowns.
Look around at the depth chart in New Orleans now, though. Brandin Cooks is gone. Michael Thomas is a solid number 1 option at wideout. Ted Ginn has the speed to get past defenders and be a solid asset in his first season in New Orleans. But Snead has experience and chemistry with Brees. He knows how to step up and make plays when the team needs them. And he has proven to be a consistent contributor, having only missed two games in two seasons with the team.
Willie Snead did sign his one-year exclusive rights free agent tender for about $615,000.
That’s practically a slap in the face for a player who so has proven himself since joining the team. And although reports are saying that he will report to the start of training camp on Thursday, Snead knows he is worth more. He doesn’t seem too worried about it, though, posting a bible verse to his Twitter account.
Romans 8:28 reads, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Snead knows good things will come his way if he continues to work hard and improve his trade. The team doesn’t have to break the bank for him. But he has proven himself as a leader and deserves a deal that rewards that. So Mickey Loomis, give the man the extension he deserves. Who Dat Nation wants to see him stick around town for a long time still!