Saints activate D.J. Swearinger, shuffle practice squad for playoffs

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John Sigler
·2 min read
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The New Orleans Saints filed a number of roster moves on the daily NFL transactions wire Monday evening, including the return of veteran safety D.J. Swearinger from the league’s COVID-19 reserve list. But the team also brought in emergency options for their specialists, like kicker Blair Walsh and long snapper John Denney.

Here’s a quick recap of each roster move:

S #32 D.J. Swearinger activated from reserve/COVID-19

Swearinger was away from the team for 10 days after testing positive for the coronavirus, but he's since recovered and returned for work. He's a valuable backup in the secondary with the experience of 112 NFL games behind him (including the playoffs).

WR #80 Austin Carr waived from active roster

The return of Michael Thomas and Deonte Harris made for a crowded receiving corps against the Chicago Bears, with Carr and rookie Juwan Johnson both inactive for the Wild-Card Round. Now Carr has been waived, though he's a candidate to return to the practice squad.

K #5 Blair Walsh signed to practice squad

Walsh hasn't kicked in an NFL game since 2017, and his last try in the postseason was a 27-yard shank that eliminated the Minnesota Vikings. So he's not a better option to play over Wil Lutz, despite the slump Lutz has found himself in. Expect Walsh to offer someone for Lutz to compete with in practice but only get activated in case of an emergency.

LS #46 John Denney signed to practice squad

Like Walsh, Denney is another veteran who's been out of football for a few years. And he's been a common participant in Saints free agent workouts in recent months. While Denney is the oldest player on the roster, his Pro Bowl appearances with the Miami Dolphins and 226 previous (including the playoffs) should inspire some confidence if long snapper Zach Wood is suddenly unavailable.

DL #70 Christian Ringo released from practice squad

Ringo was cut from the practice squad to open a spot for the new signings. The veteran defensive lineman signed with the Saints back on Nov. 11, but they've gotten healthier up front after Sheldon Rankins recovered from a knee injury and Malcom Brown bounced back from a shoulder issue.

DL #69 Anthony Zettel released from practice squad

Zettel signed with the Saints early this season on Sept. 19, making one of the better-established members of the practice squad. But they need more help at other positions, so he's been moved to create room on the depth chart.