In 2016, the Saints signed former Indianapolis Colts TE Coby Fleener to a 5-year. $36M deal. Two seasons later, after underwhelming production, many drops, and a serious concussion last year, New Orleans has released him. If the release is designated as a Post-June 1 release, the team will save $3M, otherwise they’ll take on about $8.2M in dead money. Nick Underhill notes though that there is offset language in his contract, meaning the Saints may owe him less money if he signs with another team.
In Fleener’s two years in New Orleans he only played in 27 games bringing in 72 catches for 926 yards and five touchdowns. Earlier this offseason, the Saints brought back TE Benjamin Fleener who had his breakout year in New Orleans back in 2015 with 74 catches for 825 yards and six touchdowns. Needless to say, Watson’s single year of production when he was 34/35 topped Fleener’s two-year production in the Big Easy.It’s not a shocker to see Fleener get the axe, but it will be a bit of a surprise if he’s not designated as a post-June 1 cut, depending on the offset conditions and how much they save there. Should the Saints save some money here, you can expect that it’ll go toward signing their draft picks and potentially bringing in another post-draft signing like Manti Te’o was last year.
The Saints also have Josh Hill and Michael Hoomanawanui on the roster in addition to UDFA signing Nate Wozniak and Deon Yelder with Wake Forest’s Cam Serigne coming in for a tryout during rookie minicamp next weekend. There are still tons of options in the building as the Saints continue their search for a pass-catching TE, with Watson at the forefront. Will be a position to look out for throughout training camp and the preseason.