Saints’ Marquez Callaway could go from WR1 to trade candidate

Marquez Callaway #1 of the New Orleans Saints. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Marquez Callaway #1 of the New Orleans Saints. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

New Orleans Saints wideout Marquez Callaway shined as one of the team’s lone standouts last year, but he may struggle to get playing time in 2022.

The formerly undrafted player came to NOLA in 2020 and only recently rose into relevance as he led the team in receiving yards and touchdowns during the 2021 season. Callaway may not have experienced a complete breakout season, but he still looked like the most reliable and productive receiver on the field… which means he should get his fair share of minutes as a backup in 2022, right?

Not exactly.

The Saints’ top three wideouts are pretty much locked in with Chris Olave, Jarvis Landry, and Michael Thomas. Behind them on the depth chart, the WR4 and WR5 will likely be players with unique skills and abilities like Deonte Harty, who has long served as the Saints’ return specialist, and Tre’Quan Smith, who contributes to the blocking game.

That leaves Callaway as a distant WR6 with very little chance of seeing the field unless someone gets injured.

ESPN’s Mike Triplett explains below:

Saints’ Marquez Callaway doesn’t have a clear-cut role in the offseason in 2022

Will NOLA cut or trade Callaway? Probably not. The team saw what he could offer last season in a severely weakened offense and at the very least will keep him around for insurance.

If Michael Thomas gets re-injured (a fairly high possibility considering the circumstances) or needs rest, Callaway poses as the team’s next deep-threat option and should absorb nearly all of Thomas’ snaps.

On the other hand, recent acquisition Kirk Merritt has been impressing in camp and could win a depth role in 2022 if he continues his hot streak in preseason.

The upshot of all this is that Marquez Callaway’s value to NOLA has dropped significantly from a year ago, and the passing offense doesn’t currently have room for a not-quite-starting-caliber receiver like him.

Tre’Quan Smith is the more obvious trade or cut candidate after his inconsistent performances in the last four years, yet Smith does make a crucial impact in run-blocking and also has experience playing in the slot.

Next. 3 takeaways from Saints unofficial depth chart ahead of preseason opener. dark

It’s too early to label Callaway an expendable player in 2022, much less think of trading him to a WR-needy team. As the Saints’ offense starts to gel together in preseason, it’ll nonetheless be interesting to see exactly where Callaway ends up.