Rashid Shaheed will have the best motivation as he fills a bigger role for Saints

Entering the 2024 season, receiver Rashid Shaheed will have a bigger role for the New Orleans Saints, but he has the perfect motivation to fuel a breakout year.
New Orleans Saints v Los Angeles Rams
New Orleans Saints v Los Angeles Rams / Katelyn Mulcahy/GettyImages

With Michael Thomas no longer on the New Orleans Saints, Chris Olave is now, undoubtedly, the team’s No. 1 receiver. He has already been the de facto No. 1 because of Thomas’ injuries, but there are no longer any other factors impacting that status. He’ll now be asked to play to a different standard for New Orleans.

Olave having increased responsibilities has ramifications beyond him. It also means the receivers behind Olave will have to go to another level— primarily, Rashid Shaheed. Shaheed quickly went from an undrafted player trying to make the roster, to an All-Pro returner, and a contributing receiver. Now, he’s going to be asked to take things even further.

However, Shaheed will have the perfect motivation: a contract year. Chris Trapasso, in a recent piece for CBS Sports, highlighted Rashid Shaheed as a player in a contract year that’s primed for a breakout season.

Rashid Shaheed, in a contract year, is primed for a breakout season

Trapasso did explain that Shaheed will be a restricted free agent, but believes he’s set to put up the kind of numbers that will have teams sending him offer sheets. Trapasso believes that because Shaheed has already shown plenty to have everyone excited for what he will do with a bigger role in 2024.

"What's amazing about Shaheed, he's been incredibly efficient catching his targets despite a lengthy average depth of target of 14.1 yards, which was the 15th-highest among all qualifying receivers in 2023. He's caught nearly 68% of his targets to date, and his five touchdowns on deep targets ranked third in the NFL behind only Tyreek Hill and Mike Evans last season."

Chris Trapasso (CBS Sports)

As a rookie, Shaheed played in 12 games, quickly proving his explosiveness. He caught 28 passes for 488 yards and two touchdowns. He also carried the ball four times for 57 yards and another touchdown. In year two, he improved his numbers, catching 46 passes for 719 yards, and five touchdowns.

It only makes sense that Shaheed will continue his ascension. With Klint Kubiak now designing the offense, he will likely lean on Shaheed’s big-play ability. Between that, and the motivation of a contract year, Shaheed could become a star in 2024.