Photo by: USA Today
The Saints made two moves today signing former UDFA Colts TE Erik Swoope and releasing veteran WR Brandon Marhsall before he could ever suit up for a game. Swoope played college basketball at the University of Miami, much like former Saints superstar Jimmy Graham. Only difference is that Graham got a year of TE under his belt in college with the Hurricanes. Swoope made his transition when he declared for the 2014 NFL draft. He went undrafted but signed by the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts had him on the practice squad and futures contracts for a bit before really getting him involved in the offense last season.
Swoope played in 16 games in 2016, 4 as a starter. He caught 15 catches on 22 targets good for 297 yards and a touchdown. This year, in only 7 games of action with 2 starts, he wrangled 8 of 10 targets for 87 yards and 3 touchdowns. Each of the touchdowns came in consecutive games weeks 5, 6, and 7.
Swoope missed action in weeks 8 – 12 after leaving the Colts’ game against the Bills early in week 7 with a knee injury. When he returned to in weeks 13 and 14 he saw only one target in each game. Earlier in the season Jack Doyle was sent to IR while Swoope was out. During that time Indy got a ton of production out of Eric Ebron in 1 TE sets. By the time that Swoope made it back from his injury, there weren’t many 2 and 3 TE sets being played by the Colts like earlier in the season. In week 13 he received only 14 snaps which dropped to 9 before his release this past week in which he was leapt by TE Ryan Hewitt.
Swoope being a 6’5″ 255 lb. pass catcher means that he’s possibly landed in his best-case scenario here in New Orleans. We can see what Drew Brees has been able to do with Dan Arnold, who transitioned to TE this season from WR and was a healthy scratch last week. It’s possible that Swoope being someone that’s played the TE position for four years now could see his production sky-rocket in the Saints offense. It remains to be seen how the TEs in New Orleans will shuffle about with Ben Watson, Josh Hill, and Dan Arnold also on the roster, but one thing is for sure- the Saints front office is still interested in making moves and staying ahead of the curve on their offense, especially after struggling the last few weeks.
The corresponding release of Brandon Marshall is a bit of a surprise in that he was recently quoted as saying that he’s looking forward to contributing to the Saints who are obviously having trouble at the WR position outside of Michael Thomas. But it looks like Marshall will have to wait a little longer before he plays in his first playoff game, unfortunately.
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