New Orleans Saints: Lack of depth at wide receiver may be costly

Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /
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New Orleans Saints
Nick Vannett #88 of the Denver Broncos (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The Saints signed Nick Vannett as tight end depth.

The New Orleans Saints actually didn’t completely go through free agency without adding a receiving option, as they signed Nick Vannett to a three-year, $8 million deal to serve as a complementary tight end.

To be fair, Vannett’s deal is really a two-year, $5 million contract with an option for a third year, but the fact they brought him in demonstrates some hope he’ll mesh well with Trautman to get satisfactory production from the tight end position.

Considering he’s never topped 300 receiving yards in a season during his five-year career, that might seem like a stretch, and he’s quite limited as an athlete. My guess is the Saints hope he can be Jameis Winston’s version of Cameron Brate as a tall (6’6″) receiving option in the red zone, though that’s a total projection without much in the way of a track record for a 28-year-old.

Other Options

In addition to Callaway, Juwan Johnson and Lil-Jordan Humphrey were undrafted free agent rookies who stuck on the Saints roster last season. Both profile as big-body contested-catch options, though it will be difficult for them to make the team with five wide receivers clearly ahead of them. The same goes for recent signees Eassop Winston Jr., Jake Lampman, and Jalen McCleskey.

Outside of Trautman and Vannett, the Saints will at least carry one more tight end. Garrett Griffin appears to be the most likely candidate, but keep an eye on undrafted rookie Dylan Soehner. We’ve established by now that Payton doesn’t care much about draft status when it comes to opportunity, and Soehner’s reported blocking acumen may give a leg up to replace the now-retired Josh Hill.

With quality veterans on the market, such as Kenny Stills, Dede Westbrook, and Marquise Lee, it’d be nice to see the Saints add more depth to their receiving corps, particularly another deep threat to pair with Winston. However, at the moment, it appears they are settled with their current roster, though their financial situation gives them little choice.