Saints, receiver Meachem agree to five-year deal

The last thing wide receiver Robert Meachem wanted to do was show up late for the start of New Orleans Saints training camp.

Since the draft, Meachem had to lose a few pounds and suffered a minor knee injury that cost him time in the team's offseason program. To get his career off to a good start, Meachem reached agreement on a five-year contract with New Orleans that allows him to report to training camp on time.

Meachem agreed Tuesday morning to the deal, which could max out at $11.3 million. Included in it is $5.71 million in guaranteed money. The contract and the guarantees came in at more than eight percent better than the 27th pick in last year's NFL draft.

Meachem becomes the fifth first-round draft pick to agree to a deal. His signing enables the Saints to enter training camp with all of their draft choices under contract. The Steelers and Chargers also signed their draft class before the openings of their camps.

"It has been a priority for us to get all of our picks signed
and have them available from day one," general manager Mickey
Loomis said, according to The Associated Press. "Robert has worked hard since he joined our team and we expect more of that to come in training camp and beyond."

The plan for the Saints is to develop Meachem along with Marques Colston as the team's top receiving duo. Meachem comes to the Saints with size and speed. Colston was a seventh-round surprise who played like a Rookie of the Year last season.

Starting Wednesday, Meachem can start catching up with quarterback Drew Brees and establishing an on-the-field relationship.

Senior writer John Clayton covers the NFL for ESPN.com.