An NFL source has confirmed that the New Orleans Saints opted not to match an offer sheet of two years by the Baltimore Ravens to wide out Willie Snead.
Snead became a restricted free agent at the start of the new NFL year last month and agreed to an offer sheet with Baltimore last week. New Orleans, by NFL rule, is given five days to match any team’s offer prior to declining to as the Saints did on Monday.
Speculation surfaced over the weekend that New Orleans would not match the Ravens offer. With Baltimore’s signing of Snead, they are no longer going after former Dallas wide out Dez Bryant said another NFL source on Monday. However, even with the signing of Snead, Baltimore may opt for taking a wide receiver with an early pick in the NFL draft that takes place later this week.
The decision by the Saints has not surprised many NFL pundits. Since last year Snead saw his role diminish to a point where the team signed Cameron Meredith another wide receiver to a two-year contract that is very similar to Snead’s offer sheet but slightly higher at approximately $10 million.
The Saints also re-signed Brandon Coleman a week ago. Coleman, a veteran, has played the role of backup wide receiver the last few seasons.
Baltimore has searched for a slot receiver it can pair with new free-agent signings John Brown and Michael Crabtree. The Ravens invited Snead to visit the team’s training facilities during the latter part of March. While at the Ravens facilities, Snead caught passes thrown by Ravens backup quarterback Robert Griffin III.
Snead Total Dropped Off During 2017-18
Snead, who is just 25, was considered one of the most underrated receivers in the slot position during the NFL’s 2015-16 season. That season, Snead had 141 receptions for 1,879 yards with seven touchdowns.
Last season his total fell to just eight receptions because of the limited amount of playing time he had, which was due in a big part because he was suspended for three games due to a DUI suspension to begin the season. In addition, he suffered from a hamstring injury during the early part of the season.
Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome, while at the scouting combine for the NFL, said that Baltimore was seeking to revamp the wide receiver position. The Ravens top two wide outs from a season ago – Jeremy Maclin and Mike Wallace – are not returning as Maclin was released by the team, while Wallace is a free agent.
Wide receivers for the Ravens produced the fourth fewest yards in all the NFL in 2017 at just 3,235 yards. Only the Bears, Bills and Colts had fewer receiving yards from the wide out position.
Saints Still Revolve Around Brees
Veteran quarterback Drew Brees returns for his 18th season this fall. Last season Brees threw for 4.334 yards and 23 touchdowns. For his career, Brees has 70,445 yards passing and 488 touchdown passes.
While the rushing game with Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara was a huge improvement last season, the offense revolves around the arm of Brees and the targets he has at his disposal.
Last season the Saints started slow with three losses in their first four games, but then proceeded to win eight straight and end the season in first place in the NFC South with a record of 11-5. The Saints first preseason game for 2018 is August 9 against Jacksonville and their first regular season game September 9 at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Ravens to Have New Look at Wide Out
Baltimore needed help in Week 17 just to reach the postseason but ended playing well in the playoffs and look to add to that his season.
Joe Flacco returns for his 12th season and his backup at quarterback is Griffin III. The quarterback has a whole new receiving corps to get accustomed to and that includes one more with the Snead signing. Flacco is scheduled to hold extra throwing and receiving sessions with his wide receivers so that they become accustomed to one another prior preseason beginning.