Saints: Wide receivers were the toughest cuts of them all

New Orleans Saints. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
New Orleans Saints. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

We thought the New Orleans Saints had a wide receiver dearth going into preseason, but the WR room doesn’t look too bad now.

Marquez Callaway shined in preseason, and his chemistry with Jameis Winston will be something to keep an eye on this year. Ty Montgomery and Lil’Jordan Humphrey have both impressed in training camp, and fingers crossed, Smith should return from injury.

The other regulars whose jobs are safe and sound: Michael Thomas and Deonte Harris, who is still awaiting his suspension.

With the final roster decided Tuesday afternoon, the Saints have cut wideouts Easop Winston and Kawaan Baker, each of whom showed glimpses of promise but ultimately couldn’t beat out the competition. They’ll both be on the Saints’ practice squad, however, at least for the time being.

New Orleans Saints had a tough roster decision to make about wide receivers

Payton also dropped the axe on veterans Chris Hogan and Kevin White on Tuesday – Hogan because, well, his presence on the team still doesn’t excite anybody, and White likely because of his injury-plagued history. White is also sticking around on the practice squad for now.

In reality, not including Hogan on the final roster is a good sign for the Saints’ developmental process, by which coaches might rather invest time and energy in grooming young draft picks (i.e. Baker) or just any player with a higher ceiling than Hogan.

But the Saints cut both Hogan and Baker, which leaves them with six wide receivers on the roster.

With Jameis Winston only recently named the Saints’ starting quarterback, the team could use more stability and consistency in the wide receiver room, and we’re still wondering if Payton could have sprung for a talented veteran wideout this offseason.

Smith’s spotty performances (even when healthy) and Harris’ suspension means New Orleans could have a rough season ahead of them, especially since Thomas will also be out for at least five games. Callaway will have to come up big and play the role of Emmanuel Sanders last year if the Saints want even a sniff of victory in 2021.

Payton chose the safe route when it came to wide receiver cuts, bringing over mostly the same people from last year’s receiving corps.

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Yes, he did take a risk on choosing Winston as the starting quarterback, but everyone knew Winston had won the job already in preseason. After these final wide receiver roster cuts, it seems that’s the only big risk he’s willing to take this year.