It’s no secret that the New Orleans Saints must revamp their wide receiver room this offseason. Their 2022 playoff hopes depend on it.
Currently, the top receivers the Saints have under contract this year are Michael Thomas and Marquez Callaway. Rumors of a potential Michael Thomas trade still cloud the wideout’s future with the team, but most signs point toward Thomas staying in NOLA.
Marquez Callaway wasn’t much of a factor in 2021 due to a host of offensive issues, but he could make a big jump in his career in 2022.
Other than those two players, the Saints are running desperately thin on pass-targets.
NFL’s Kevin Patra took a look at every NFL team’s wide receiver situation heading into the 2022 season. For the Saints, Patra told us what we already know:
"Without Thomas, there isn’t much to love about the New Orleans receiver crew, even if Harris returns on a restricted free agent tender. With a mountain of cap issues to overcome, the obvious mode of adding talent is through the draft. The Saints didn’t use high picks on wideouts much under Sean Payton. Will that change under the new staff?"
New Orleans Saints must address weak wide receiver room for 2022
Patra argues Thomas is the only real dangerous threat in the Saints’ receiver room, which given last season’s individual offensive performances, we would tentatively agree with.
Saints players set to be free agents this offseason include Deonte Harris, Tre’Quan Smith, Kenny Stills, and Lil’Jordan Humphrey, though Kenny Stills is the only unrestricted free agent.
Harris performed well enough to compete for a roster spot this year, but the Saints should probably let the others walk away. A new season, and the beginning of the Dennis Allen era, calls for drastic measures, and it seems like a near-guarantee that NOLA will use a first or second-round pick on a wideout in the 2022 draft.
A huge question mark also looms at the quarterback position, though the general consensus is that Jameis Winston will get re-signed this season. If so, a Winston-Thomas partnership does offer strong dashes of hope and excitement, as does Winston’s evolving chemistry with Callaway.
If the Saints can pick up a starting-caliber wide receiver in April as well as trade for a well-priced free agent, their wide receiver room could turn out much better than expected. We’ll see what the front office decides to do in 2022.