Payton Turner is entering his most important season, as Saints face decision time

The New Orleans Saints have a decision to make about Payton Turner’s future with the franchise, as the young defender enters a pivotal year.
New Orleans Saints v Carolina Panthers
New Orleans Saints v Carolina Panthers / Eakin Howard/GettyImages

When the New Orleans Saints drafted Payton Turner with the 28th-overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, they were hoping to get a ferocious edge defender that could harass opposing quarterbacks for years to come. Three seasons later, the Saints are still looking for that. That’s because Turner hasn’t been able to deliver.

Unfortunately, most of his shortcomings have been because of health. Despite being with New Orleans for three years, Turner has only played in a total of 15 games. He played in five games as a rookie, eight in 2022, and just two last season. Unsurprisingly, he hasn’t produced much when Turner has been on the field, recording just 29 tackles, eight for a loss, and three sacks.

Now, as he prepares for year four, the New Orleans Saints have to decide if they are going to pick up his fifth-year option. That’s an incredibly easy decision. The answer is no. However, New Orleans does have to make a decision about Turner’s future with the organization in general. Will he make it to this season on the roster? Will this be his last year with the team or is there a chance that he could be around beyond 2024?

What is Payton Turner’s future with the Saints?

Carl Granderson has emerged as a productive edge defender for New Orleans, and the team also signed veteran Chase Young this offseason. Additionally, Cam Jordan is still with the team. Jordan is already talking about the three of them being a three-headed monster. Turner has pretty much been out of sight, out of mind.

However, if he’s healthy for the season, the Saints will likely give him one last chance to prove himself. He’ll have to earn playing time, of course, but this will essentially be a make-or-break season for the young defender who’s only 25 years old. Turner’s performance this season won’t just determine his future in New Orleans, it’ll decide his future in the league. He needs good health on his side and he needs to deliver.