The New Orleans Saints’ wideout roster battle just got a little less competitive with Kawaan Baker’s impending suspension. Could Baker still make the final squad?
It’s possible, but probably not.
Saints receiver Kawaan Baker was recently slapped with a six-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances, per Pro Football Talk. Baker will be eligible to return to the active 53-man roster in Week 7, though he can participate in all preseason practices and games.
The 2021 seventh-rounder spent the majority of his rookie season on the practice squad, playing just 27 special teams snaps last year. He’s been putting in the work in training camp to earn offensive snaps, but his suspension all but spells disaster for his second-year campaign.
New Orleans Saints may release WR Kawaan Baker by the end of preseason
NOLA’s wideout unit is already crowded enough as it is, and at best Baker could be elevated to a backup role by beating out Deonte Harty or Marquez Callaway. This six-game suspension nonetheless throws a wrench in his plans and gives Baker an enormous disadvantage heading into the 2022 season.
The starting wideouts for the 2022 campaign are pretty much set in stone: Michael Thomas, Chris Olave, and Jarvis Landry. Behind those three, the starters from 2021 serve as viable stand-ins: Callaway, Harty, and Tre’Quan Smith.
Baker currently offers third-string depth with the likes of Kevin White and Easop Winston Jr., and being forced to sit out for six games in the regular season greatly hurts his chances of making the final roster.
NOLA will likely pad their wide receiver room for 2022 in the event Michael Thomas gets re-injured, but even then, Harty or Callaway are much more qualified to step into a starting role, and Baker simply may not cut it as an insurance piece.
Baker’s time with the Saints isn’t over yet, but unless he produces a miracle in preseason, he could very well find himself on the outside looking in.