New Orleans Saints need receiving help


For years, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees has been flirting with passing records left and right with pass-catchers such as wide receivers Marques ColstonKenny Stills and Lance Moore, tight end Jimmy Graham and running backs such as Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles.

As 2015 approaches, the vast majority of those names have moved on, with the exception of Colston.

Oct 19, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) talks with wide receiver Marques Colston (12) on the sidelines during the first quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Dating back to 2012, the New Orleans Saints receiving corps has seemingly gotten worse. That year, Robert Meachem went to the San Diego Chargers via free agency. One year later, Devery Henderson signed with the Washington Redskins. Last offseason, Moore was cut loose by the club (and eventually was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers) while Sproles was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles.

ALSO ON SPIN ZONE: 30 Greatest Wide Receivers of All-Time

But wait, there’s more! Earlier this year, the Saints gave Thomas a pink slip. A few weeks later, Graham was traded to the Seattle Seahawks and Stills was dealt to the Miami Dolphins.


Hence, Brees and the Saints receiving corps (besides the declining Colston and unproven Brandin Cooks) have figuratively…nobody?

According to the Saints depth chart (courtesy of Ourlads), behind Cooks and Colston is the collection of performers such as tight ends Benjamin Watson and Josh Hill, as well as wideouts such as Nick Toon, free-agent pickup Josh Morgan, Joseph Morgan and Jalen Saunders, to name a few.[related category]

Of the pass-catchers listed, not one totaled 1,000-plus receiving yards in 2014.

The average age of those receivers comes out to be 27 which is pretty old in the NFL. Colston, 32, and Watson, 34, are getting up there and are definitely on the decline in terms of dropped passes and injuries. Colston can still ball but his 903 yards and 59 catches last season were the lowest he’s attained since 2008 when he was injured for five games.

He is getting older for sure and could have some better stats with the lack of talent around him.

Now with Graham already going to Seattle, one would have thought that the Saints would have gone to the free agency bucket and pulled out a solid vet or would have used the draft to pick up an up-and-coming prospect, but no. They bypassed all of those options and decided to stay with the guys they have.

Now, I am not one to be a negative nelly. But when an NFL team has only a second-year pro and a 32 year-old as its best receivers, there should be cause for concern. Admittedly, there are other receiving corps that are in worse shape (New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, San Francisco), however, there aren’t many wide receiving corps with less firepower than the Saints.

May 28, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints running back C.J. Spiller (28) during organized team activities at the New Orleans Saints Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

If I were the Saints, I would definitely look to the free agent market to snatch somebody up quick because Brees needs receivers as soon as possible. Of course they went out and got versatile running back C.J. Spiller from Buffalo (a questionable move with bruiser Mark Ingram), but no star receivers. Perhaps head coach Sean Payton is going to use Spiller as a slot receiver? Who knows.

All I have to say is don’t be surprised if Brees ends up passing for under 4,000 yards in 2015 (something that hasn’t happened in a decade). The team appears undermanned in terms of pass-catchers and this will test the veteran signal-caller’s abilities. It will be interesting to see if Brees can somehow find success with the passing game in 2015 with a team without any star receivers currently on its roster.

Next: Could Nick Toon be a factor in 2015?

More from NFL Spin Zone