Saints: Sean Payton’s cuts show he’s valuing experience over potential

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The New Orleans Saints and Sean Payton made a few surprise cuts as they trimmed their roster down to just 53 this past Saturday.

There were two cuts in particular that signaled New Orleans Saints’ head coach Sean Payton’s ideology this season. Emmanuel Butler, an undrafted wide receiver, and Devine Ozigbo, an undrafted running back, were both cuts after impressive starts to the season.

Both of these players were cut for a more experienced player that has arguably a lower ceiling.

As for Ozigbo, he was immediately claimed off waivers by the Jaguars. The former Husker was claimed by three teams yet Jacksonville was given the priority. As for Butler, he’s landed on the team’s practice squad with Dan Arnold and Alize Mack, two other surprise cuts.

It goes deeper than just the fact that these two were waived by the team.

The 22-year-old Ozigbo and the 23-year-old Butler both made waves during training camp and the meaningless preseason games. It should’ve been enough to keep them on the team’s 53-man roster.

However, it wasn’t. They were both replaced by older, more veteran players that signal how the team is looking to move forward with their roster this season.

Butler, who totaled only 47 yards and a touchdown in three preseason games, made a highly anticipated debut in Week 2. It seemed Butler made notable catches on a daily basis throughout the team’s training camp.

He was eventually replaced by Austin Carr, a player with limited upside at 25.

Ozigbo, on the other hand, wasn’t as flashy during the team’s training camp yet elevated his game during the preseason. It was Ozigbo’s performance through the air, catching 9-of-10 targets for 60 yards and a touchdown, that should’ve boosted his value.

However, he also proved to be a capable runner. He ran 21 times and neared 100 yards with 4.4 yards per carry. Instead of keeping the young back from Nebraska, the Saints opted to retain Dwyane Washington, the 25-year-old third-year back.

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Hopefully, neither Ozigbo or Butler make the Saints regret their decision, but that duo certainly has a high ceiling and could make their name known in the league very soon.

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