Free-agent spotlight: WR Robert Meachem

The New Orleans Saints have 13 players scheduled to become unrestricted free agents on March 11, plus the three players they released earlier this month. Here’s a breakdown on receiver Robert Meachem:

Position: backup WR

Age: 29

Height: 6-2

Weight: 215

Scouting report: After a disappointing stint with the San Diego Chargers, Meachem was back at home last season as a situational player in the Saints’ offense. The Saints love using Meachem in their heavy run formations, because he’s a very good blocker (his most underrated strength) and because he’s a dangerous deep threat on play-action fakes.

Meachem caught just 16 passes in the regular season last year, but he racked up 324 yards and two touchdowns. His average of 20.3 yards per catch would have led the NFL if he had enough receptions to qualify. He then caught another three passes for 109 yards in the playoffs.

Meachem thrived as a rotational player during his first stint with the Saints from 2007-2011 after being drafted in the first round out of Tennessee. He scored 25 touchdowns during that stretch, with his best years coming from 2009-2011. However, he flamed out when the Chargers signed him to a big-money deal in 2012 to become more of an every-down receiver.

The Chargers released Meachem after the preseason last year, and the Saints quickly snatched him up during Week 1 of the regular season.

Projection: I could definitely see Meachem returning in a similar role this year. The Saints obviously showed how much they value him last year when they re-signed him so quickly. And they reportedly have shown interest in bringing him back again this year.

However, it will be interesting to see what happens if fellow deep threat/blocking specialist Joe Morgan returns at a high level after missing all of last season with a knee injury. The Saints might also look to add a dynamic young deep threat in the draft.