METAIRIE, La. -- The New Orleans Saints have offered receiver Willie Snead the lowest possible tender for restricted free agents (one year at about $1.9 million), according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. And they won’t be offering any tender to restricted free-agent cornerback Delvin Breaux, according to a source.
It remains unclear if they plan to tender restricted free-agent receiver Brandon Coleman.
The Snead and Breaux decisions aren’t too surprising at this point -- but they would have been absolute stunners just one or two years ago. Snead and Breaux were two of the Saints’ most promising breakout players in 2015, and it seemed like a no-brainer they would be a big part of the team’s future.
Snead caught a total of 141 passes for 1,879 yards and seven touchdowns during a two-year span from 2015 to 2016 after being cut by both the Cleveland Browns and Carolina Panthers in 2014. But then last year he barely played after serving a three-game DUI suspension to start the year and suffering an early-season hamstring injury.
The Saints may wind up keeping Snead if he doesn’t sign an offer sheet with another team -- or if they decide to match an offer that he signs elsewhere. And they could sure use the 2015-16 version of Snead, who was a go-to guy on third downs for them -- an area where their offense really dropped off last year.
But they’re clearly willing to risk losing him at this point. Since the Saints offered Snead the lowest possible tender, that means another team wouldn’t owe New Orleans any draft picks if it signs him away and the Saints don’t match the offer.
Breaux, meanwhile, came down from the Canadian Football League and played at nearly a Pro Bowl caliber as a physical 6-foot-1, 210-pounder who routinely matched up against No. 1 receivers in 2015. But then he suffered a broken fibula in Week 1 of the 2016 season. Then he broke the same fibula in a slightly different spot during training camp last summer and wound up missing the whole season because of a setback in his rehab.
Now another team might wind up getting a bargain on a cornerback with a high ceiling if he can shake the injury bug.
The Saints are in good shape at cornerback after rookie Marshon Lattimore and second-year pro Ken Crawley both had breakout seasons in 2017. But they appear likely to try to add to the mix in free agency. ESPN’s Dianna Russini reported they have shown interest in both Malcolm Butler and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, among possible others.