Saints officially decline Payton Turner’s fifth-year option as he enters pivotal year

The New Orleans Saints recently decided not to pick up the fifth-year option of Payton Turner. Now the defensive end will enter an important season.
New Orleans Saints v Carolina Panthers
New Orleans Saints v Carolina Panthers / Eakin Howard/GettyImages

Everyone knew it was coming, but the New Orleans Saints have officially declined to pick up the fifth-year option of defensive end Payton Turner. That means the 2024 season will be the final year of Turner’s rookie contract with the Saints. Simply put, it will be a make-or-break season for Turner.

The reason this was a forgone conclusion is that Payton Turner’s first three years in the league were a nightmare. In three seasons, Turner has played in just 15 games. An assortment of injuries limited him to just five games as a rookie, eight in year two, and two games last season. It’s especially unfortunate since the injuries are out of his control.

In the 15 games that he did play, Turner recorded 29 tackles, eight for a loss, and three sacks. Now, entering this pivotal season in his career, Turner will need to hope for good health and play well.

Payton Turner entering make-or-break season

Turner was selected with the 28th-overall pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. At 6-foo-6, 270 there were high hopes that he could become a consistent force off the edge for New Orleans. That didn’t happen. Instead, while sidelined, he was passed up by guys like Carl Granderson. The Saints even signed Chase Young this offseason.

Of course, Turner will still have his opportunity this season. He will likely have to fight in camp to even make the roster. If he can do that and stay on the field, he’ll have the chance to show the skills that made him a first-round pick. If he can’t, his time in New Orleans will definitely be over, and his time in the league as a whole could be near an end as well.

That's why this season is make-or-break for Payton Turner. He has to prove that he can stay healthy and that he can be a productive piece for teams.