Saints: Dede Westbrook presents a low-risk, high-reward signing

Dede Westbrook #12 of the Jacksonville Jaguars (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
Dede Westbrook #12 of the Jacksonville Jaguars (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) /

It’s no secret that the New Orleans Saints need depth at wide receiver and while the options in free agency leave little to be desired, one could be worth taking a flier on. Dede Westbrook, a former fourth-round pick out of Oklahoma in 2017, hasn’t done much as an NFL receiver but the Saints don’t have much to lose offering him a cheap contract and seeing if he does anything.

New Orleans has Michael Thomas as their unquestioned No. 1 wide receiver and he’ll hopefully remain healthy this year and return to his 2019 form. When Thomas went down with an injury last year, however, no other receiver stepped up in his absence and it was disappointing, to say the least.

The Saints didn’t do much to address the position in the offseason and actually let go of their second-best receiver, Emmanuel Sanders, to save money. They waited until the seventh round of the draft to address the position and while Kawaan Baker has untapped potential, he’s a seventh-round draft pick.

Westbrook isn’t someone who is going to emerge as a 1,000-yard receiver if the Saints signed him. What he could offer, however, is depth at a position of need. His best season came in 2018 when he totaled 66 receptions for 717 yards and five touchdowns with the Jaguars. That looked to be the beginning of something special for Westbrook but he failed to build on that promising 2018 campaign.

Dede Westbrook could be worth a look for the Saints in free agency.

At this point, the Saints have Thomas at wide receiver and then mostly nobodies. Tre’Quan Smith hasn’t shown much despite being a former third-round pick and getting his fair share of opportunities to step up and show something. Marquez Callaway is a nice story but he’s a UDFA who we haven’t seen much of. Baker, as I mentioned, has potential but probably isn’t the long-term answer.

There aren’t any good free-agent wide receivers so saying that Westbrook is the best out of the group isn’t saying much. Throw in that he tore his ACL midway through the 2020 season and that could be another reason why teams are staying away from him.

Next. 3 Potential Candidates for No. 2 Wide Receiver. dark

The Saints don’t have much to lose at this point. Offer Westbrook a one-year “prove it” deal and see if he produces at all. If he doesn’t, at least the team tried to improve the position rather than just rolling with what they have.