Opinions

Saints Off-Season Outlook: Wide Receivers

The Saints have a lot of thinking to do at the wide receiver position this off-season. Michael Thomas is easily one of the best receivers in the NFL and next year he will definitely be getting a big contract extension. Outside of him, there was not a lot of production and consistency from the others in the group. Ted Ginn Jr. missed majority of the season. Cam Meredith was put on the shelf almost halfway through the year. Tre’Quan Smith and Keith Kirkwood showed some flashes at times. Austin Carr and Tommylee Lewis barely made their presence felt. Also, Dez Bryant was primed to get into the action but a torn Achilles shot that down in the same week he was signed. Not to mention, Brandon Marshall was signed but never made it to the field and was cut before the season ended. The team will not be short of options this year and should be able to find a solution in either free agency or the draft.

Current Players

Michael Thomas | Ted Ginn Jr. | Dez Bryant (FA) | Cam Meredith | Tre’Quan Smith | Keith Kirkwood | Austin Carr | Tommylee Lewis (FA) | Travin Dural | Simmie Cobbs

The list may be plentiful but the production was very minimal. Bryant has said he would like to return to New Orleans. Smith and Kirkwood has potential to make strides in year 2. Ginn Jr., Meredith and Carr are question marks at this point, maybe even candidates to be traded if teams are willing to take a flyer. Dural and Cobbs have not really played enough to see what they are capable of. Lewis at this point is destined for a new home because he has not done enough in the pass game nor the return game to warrant a roster spot.

Free Agent Targets

Golden Tate | Eagles (signed with Giants)

Despite coming with a high price tag, Tate has the ability to play the outside and the slot and would do wonders in a Sean Payton offense. He has had success against the Saints the last few years and pairing him with Thomas could be deadly for the rest of the league.

Adam Humphries | Buccaneers (signed with Titans)

A division foe who has made a name for himself in the slot. He is going to garner a lot of attention and wants a high price tag along with it. If he wants to win for less, he knows where to go.

Cole Beasley | Cowboys (signed with Bills)

Beasley has been a solid role player for Dallas for years but a change of scenery may be good for him since the addition of Amari Cooper. He works well in the slot and also has punt return abilities. Also asking for a pay day but like Humphries taking less to win is an option with the Saints.

Devin Funchess | Panthers (signed with Colts)

His name has been thrown around in connection to the Saints but he may not be on their list. However, anything is possible in this league and maybe a one-year deal is enough to get his stock back up.

Randall Cobb | Packers

Another name that has been linked to the Saints. Coming off an injury riddled season, Cobb will look for a new home to show he still has enough to contribute.

Pierre Garcon | 49ers

His name came up recently as a player the Saints may be interested in even at 33 years old. He still has the capability of creating space and route running and his veteran leadership will help this young core.

Jamison Crowder | Redskins (signed with Jets)

Small but speedy with returner abilities, another slot option who could come cheap.

Trade Targets

Jakeem Grant | Dolphins

With the Saints hiring Dan Rizzi as their special teams coordinator, it would only makes sense to kill two birds with one stone. Grant is a great returner on kickoffs and punts and could fill a void that has been missing for quite some time.

Draft Prospects

Parris Campbell | Ohio State

Deebo Samuel | South Carolina

J.J. Arcega-Whiteside | Stanford

Jalen Hurd | Baylor

Hakeem Butler | Iowa State

Andy Isabella | UMass

Hunter Renfrow | Clemson

David Sills V | West Virginia

The options are endless this year. The Saints will have a lot to think about knowing that this is not only for next year but for the future as well. Some of the prospects will be late round options with a few maybe falling to the second round for the Saints to steal. Overall, they need to get better production from the other receivers outside Thomas and this is the year to get a solid one or two players from the market.

Follow Dom Lewis on Twitter @BigFella122