ESPN names Saints’ worst free agent signing of the last 5 years
Look, the New Orleans Saints have had some misfires in free agency. The upcoming signing period is always exciting, and they’re a team that likes to make a splash and try and build a competitive roster. Sometimes they’re the ones who end up in hot water, though.
Jason David. Jairus Byrd. Brandon Browner. Adrian Peterson. Remember Champ Bailey? The Saints have taken some missteps in signing veterans from other teams. Things have improved a bit more recently, but there are still some blemishes on their record. ESPN’s NFL Nation beat reporter Katherine Terrell picked wide receiver Cameron Meredith as the Saints’ worst free agent signing of the last five years, writing:
Meredith’s big 2016 season with the Bears (66 catches for 888 yards and four touchdowns) convinced the Saints to sign him in 2018. Meredith missed the 2017 season in Chicago because of a torn ACL and spent most of his time in New Orleans injured as well, catching nine passes before he was released after one season.
Injuries are tough; sometimes players make a clean recovery and return to form, other times they struggle to even get back on the field. Meredith fell in the later case. Sustained swelling in his surgically-repaired knee kept him on the sidelines for much of his first training camp with the Saints, and he was only able to sporadically appear in the lineup during the regular season.
The Saints signed him to a two-year, $9.5 million contract as a restricted free agent after moving on from Willie Snead IV, envisioning Meredith as a nice complement to Michael Thomas and Ted Ginn Jr., but his body wouldn’t allow it. In order to wrest Meredith away from the Chicago Bears (who had the option to match their offer), New Orleans fronted $5.35 million in guaranteed money. It wasn’t their best investment.
At least Meredith made some fun memories in New Orleans — he caught a critical 11-yard touchdown pass from Drew Brees in the Saints’ early-season win over the Atlanta Falcons, retaking the lead in the second half to help force the game to overtime. Brees later scored a pair of rushing touchdowns (famously throwing two Falcons defenders into the spin cycle) on his way to a much-needed win. It was the second victory in a ten-game win streak that powered the Saints to the playoffs.
More 2023 free agency!
Demario Davis named Saints' best free agent signing of the last 5 years
What an incentive-heavy contract for Michael Thomas could look like
Saints, All-Pro special teams ace J.T. Gray reach deal on 3-year extension