Former Giants, Bears CB Prince Amukamara among Saints free agent visits

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Multiple free agent tryouts were reported by the New Orleans Saints on Saturday’s update to the daily NFL transactions wire, and some of them may have a lot to offer. You just need to look past initial positions of need and consider the wider scope of the roster as it currently stands. Let’s dig in:

CB Prince Amukamara

FILE - In this Jan. 6, 2019, file photo, Chicago Bears cornerback Prince Amukamara (20) warms up before an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Philadelphia Eagles in Chicago. Few defenses lead the NFL in interceptions for consecutive years, but cornerback Prince Amukamara and other members of the Bears' secondary think they are primed to make a run at doing it after 27 last time out. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

Amukamara was one name not on the wire, though his visit was first reported by NewOrleans.Football's Nick Underhill and confirmed by ESPN's Dan Graziano. Amukamara turned 32 in June and has played 113 games in the NFL (plus 5 playoff matchups, including a Super Bowl win with the New York Giants back in 2011), though he spent the 2020 season on the Arizona Cardinals practice squad. Before that, he sandwiched a year with the Jacksonville Jaguars in-between his 55 games with the Giants and 44 appearances with the Chicago Bears. He's bagged 10 interceptions and 78 passes defensed in his career.

OL J.R. Sweezy

Sep 20, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman J.R. Sweezy (64) against the Washington Football Team at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Sweezy, 32, started 10 of the 13 games he played with the Cardinals last season -- lining up almost exclusively at right guard. The Saints haven't re-signed Nick Easton after releasing him earlier this year, so it makes sense to look for a replacement (if not an upgrade). Sweezy has started 104 of his 117 career games in addition to 11 playoff games (winning one Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks and losing another). The Saints were interested in him as a free agent back in 2016, so he's been on their radar for a while. At this point, though, he makes the most sense for them as quality competition for Cesar Ruiz at near-veteran's minimum.

OL Brent Qvale

Houston Texans wide receiver Chad Hansen (17) celebrates a touchdown with offensive tackle Brent Qvale (76)in the first half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts in Indianapolis, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

A big blocker with experience at both guard and tackle, Qvale was a backup last season with the Houston Texans, with most of his snaps coming at left guard. Before that, he was a longtime New York Jets reserve at right tackle. Now 30, he's a versatile option with pro experience who could help fill in should he agree to sign at New Orleans' price point. It's worth noting, though, that he played nearly as many snaps in 2016 and 2017 (347 and 394, respectively) as in the rest of his career put together (459). He may have limited upside compared to other available free agents.

RB Javon Leake

Washington Football Team Javon Leake against the San Francisco 49ers during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Leake only appeared in one game last year with the Washington Football Team, totaling 6 snaps on special teams, so his presence at this tryout was likely as a comparison against older players. The former Maryland Terrapin weighs in at 6-foot-even and 210 pounds but posted a position-average Relative Athletic Score (5.10) coming out of college, timing the 40-yard dash in 4.65 seconds. With Ty Montgomery playing more often at wide receiver in light of hits to that unit, it makes sense for the Saints to consider options who could push Dwayne Washington for the third spot in the running back rotation (which means a heavy dose of action in the kicking game).

RB T.J. Yeldon

Jan 24, 2021; Kansas City, MO, USA; Buffalo Bills running back T.J. Yeldon (22) is tackled by Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Charvarius Ward (35) during the third quarter in the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Drafted high by the Jaguars out of Alabama, Yeldon struggled to get going behind some league-worst offensive lines in Jacksonville before joining the Buffalo Bills in 2019, where he's only played a bit part over the last two years. He's totaled 60 regular season games (and 4 playoff appearances), averaging 33.4 rushing yards and 24.1 receiving yards per game in his career. He's still just 27 and could hit in the right situation, but it doesn't sound like he'll be staying in New Orleans following this tryout.

RB Devonta Freeman

Aug 25, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman (24) runs out of the locker room and onto the field during pregame against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Freeman was the only runner signed out of the three candidates, so he must have put on quite a show. He certainly brings the strongest resume: the 29-year-old averaged 51.6 rushing yards and 26.2 receiving yards per game in 77 regular season games with the Atlanta Falcons, scoring a combined 43 touchdowns. That lifted him to a pair of Pro Bowl trips and an All-Pro second team selection. But injuries have slowed Freeman down in recent years; he was limited to 2 games in 2018 and 5 appearances with the Giants in 2020, totaling a meager 230 yards from scrimmage. He's probably best suited for a backup role at this stage in his career.

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