Here we go: the New Orleans Saints are getting healthy at the right time, with star running back Alvin Kamara returning from the COVID-19 reserve list while wide receiver Michael Thomas, the reigning NFL Offensive Player of the Year, is activated from injured reserve. Both players are eligible to dress out for Sunday’s Wild-Card Round playoff game with the Chicago Bears.
But those weren’t the only roster moves New Orleans reported to the daily transactions wire on Saturday. Here’s everything you need to know:
RB #41 Alvin Kamara activated from COVID-19 reserve
Saturday, Jan. 9 was the final day of Kamara’s NFL-required quarantine after he tested positive for the coronavirus, and his activation signals the all-clear for him to join the team on Sunday. The importance of the Saints getting their best player back can’t be understated.
WR #13 Michael Thomas activated from injured reserve
Thomas was given three weeks to rest up on injured reserve after he tried to play through his Week 1 high-ankle sprain, and now he gets to compete with the rest of the starting offense after testing his injured leg in practice during the week. How heavy his workload may be in his first game back remains to be seen.
WR #11 Deonte Harris activated from injured reserve
The Saints haven’t had a great replacement plan with Harris sidelined. They’ve alternated between Marquez Callaway (who was pulled after making some rookie mistakes), Austin Carr and Tommylee Lewis (each called up from the practice squad), but no one has consistently matched the impact Harris creates. He’s a weapon in the return game.
CB #21 Patrick Robinson activated from injured reserve
Robinson brings some welcome experience to the secondary and quality depth behind Marshon Lattimore and Janoris Jenkins. He took a little longer to get activated after returning from injured reserve to practice with the team, but that just means he had more time to finish healing up and gaining confidence after his injury.
G/C #62 Nick Easton designated to injured reserve
But this is a big loss to the offensive line. Easton has started at right guard for much of the season, but his third concussions this year is too much to overcome. He’ll get an opportunity to rest up before the offseason, and he should take all the time he needs. Multiple brain injuries suffered in a short time like this have ended careers.
WR #18 Jake Kumerow waived from active roster
Kumerow joined the Saints just a few weeks ago, but he’s been waived to make room for the players returning from the reserve lists. He’s a candidate to return to the practice squad if he clears waivers, which isn’t a guarantee -- that’s how the Saints acquired him in the first place.
LB #42 Chase Hansen promoted from the practice squad
It’s been tough for New Orleans to round out snaps in the linebacker corps ever since Kwon Alexander went down with an injury, but Hansen is more likely to help out on special teams than with the regular defense.
WR #84 Lil’Jordan Humphrey promoted from the practice squad
Humphrey gets another opportunity with the active roster, though he probably won’t receive many targets with Kamara and Thomas both back in action. The second-year pro has been a valuable fill-in during their absences.