The New Orleans Saints cut 33 players, placed two on injured reserve and lost one to a suspension as they trimmed their roster to the NFL-mandated 53 players on Saturday. Here’s a closer look at the final moves:
The Saints activated Armstead from their PUP list (as coach Sean Payton suggested they might the other day). That’s a huge boost for the Saints, considering Armstead is arguably one of the three or four most talented players on the entire roster, and he was originally expected to miss at least half the season when he had shoulder surgery in June. Armstead will still likely miss a handful of games, which means the Saints will be counting on rookie first-round draft pick Ryan Ramczyk at left tackle for a little while. But they obviously expect Armstead to be back soon – otherwise they would have kept him on the PUP list for the first six weeks.
Anthony, meanwhile, went from a first-round draft pick in 2015 to a roster darkhorse this summer after he barely played last season and missed the past three weeks with an unspecified injury. But the Saints obviously expect him back soon – and obviously still see enough potential in him – to keep the faith.
Room for one more (at least): Cornerback Delvin Breaux is on the roster for now, but Payton suggested the other day that he will likely be placed on short-term injured reserve for the first eight weeks of the season. That will open up another roster spot – possibly for one of the players they just cut, or possibly for a newcomer from another team. And with so many players now on the market, it’s possible the Saints could decide to bring in two or three of them and let somebody else go.
Not the Cinderella we expected: The Saints released three of their most popular underdog stories – linebacker Adam Bighill, cornerback Arthur Maulet and running back Darius Victor (all of whom are strong practice-squad candidates). However, they didn’t shun Cinderella entirely. New Orleans’ most surprising move of the day was keeping undrafted rookie running back Trey Edmunds on the initial 53-man roster. Edmunds, who is the son of former NFL tight end Ferrell Edmunds Jr., joined the Saints after a rookie minicamp tryout. He didn’t get significant snaps as a running back but obviously stood out enough on special teams to supplant former special-teams standouts like Michael Mauti and Jake Lampman.
Only two QBs: Not surprising, but still notable: The Saints kept only two quarterbacks in veterans Drew Brees and Chase Daniel. They released former third-round draft pick Garrett Grayson and former New York Giants backup Ryan Nassib after neither was able to force their way onto the 53-man roster. However, Payton said the Saints would likely keep a developmental QB on the practice squad if they go with only two on the active roster – which is what they did with Grayson last year.
Released (24): QB Garrett Grayson, RB Darius Victor, WR Jake Lampman, WR Travin Dural, WR De’Quan Hampton, TE Braedon Bowman, TE Garrett Griffin, OL John Fullington, G Landon Turner, G Kristjan Sokoli, OT Jerry Ugokwe, C Cameron Tom, CB Arthur Maulet, CB Damian Swann, CB Taveze Calhoun, CB Malik Foreman, CB Elijah Mitchell, S Erik Harris, LB Adam Bighill, LB Jonathan Walton, DE Obum Gwacham, DE Alex Jenkins, DT Justin Zimmer, DT Ashaad Mabry.
Three-game suspension (1): WR Willie Snead.