METAIRIE, La. – The New Orleans Saints are bringing back receiver Brandon Coleman, a source confirmed, after they initially decided not to make him a qualifying offer as a restricted free agent last month.
The news was first reported by the NFL Network. Details of the contract were not immediately available – though it seems likely that Coleman will make less than the $1.9 million tender the Saints would have had to offer him last month.
Coleman, 25, is no lock to make the Saints’ roster, which has suddenly become overcrowded with wide receivers after the Saints signed restricted free agent Cameron Meredith last week.
But bringing back the 6-foot-6, 225-pounder makes a ton of sense as insurance, if nothing else -- especially since Meredith’s health is still a question mark as he returns from a torn ACL and MCL that he suffered with the Chicago Bears last preseason.
The Saints typically use four receivers on game days. And Coleman has been part of that top four in each of the past three years, appearing in 49 straight games from 2015 to 2017 before a neck injury sidelined him for the playoff loss at Minnesota in January.
Returning starters Michael Thomas and Ted Ginn Jr. appear to be roster locks. After that, everyone comes with question marks – Meredith because of his health; Willie Snead because of his surprising struggles in 2017; and Austin Carr because he is an unproven commodity who redshirted as an undrafted rookie last year. (Receiver Tommylee Lewis has also made the Saints’ roster the past two years, but primarily as a return man.)
Plus, it’s possible the Saints could add another receiver in the draft, which would make the competition even stiffer.
But Coleman is the ultimate safety net for the Saints since they have obviously valued him over the past three years as both a pass-catcher and a blocker.
Coleman has never quite lived up to the lofty potential that comes with his massive frame and several Marques Colston comparisons after he joined the team as an undrafted rookie out of Rutgers in 2014. But he has been a steady contributor with between 23 and 30 catches, 281 and 454 yards and two and three touchdowns in each of the past three seasons.