On Tuesday, the New Orleans Saints signed former Jets player Chris Herndon and added an extra dose of competition to the tight end position group in 2022.
Herndon spent last season on the Minnesota Vikings and recorded just four catches for 40 yards in 16 games, though the 2018 fourth-round pick enjoyed a great rookie season on the New York Jets that saw him record 39 catches for 502 yards and four touchdowns.
What version of Herndon will the NOLA Saints get?
Herndon suffered a serious injury that saw him regress in 2019 and 2020, and his middling performance last year doesn’t paint him as a super productive pass-catching tight end.
He’s looking for a fresh start this upcoming season and adds important depth at tight end for the Saints, especially given Taysom Hill’s recent camp injuries.
NOLA Saints boost their tight end corps with Chris Herndon signing
Herndon had his chance to step into the spotlight in 2021 when Vikings tight end Irv Smith Jr. got injured, yet Herndon featured in just 17 percent of offensive snaps that year.
The Saints picked him up as insurance in free agency, and this training camp, Herndon will compete directly with Juwan Johnson and Nick Vannett for a final roster spot.
Former quarterback Taysom Hill has been touted as an underrated gem at the tight end position and should easily win a big role in the offense as long as he’s healthy. Hill dealt with a painful Lisfranc injury last season and recently suffered a rib injury last Friday, so until he’s up to speed, Herndon will get plenty of snaps to prove his value to the Saints.
If Herndon can show flashes of his rookie self in preseason, maybe he can revive his career in NOLA.
Either way, Herndon serves as a low-risk signing who could see a surprising amount of minutes if Taysom Hill keeps getting bitten by the injury bug ahead of the 2022 season.