Apr 25, 2024; Detroit, MI, USA; Oregon State Beavers tackle Taliese Fuaga is selected as the No. 14 pick of the first round by the New Orleans Saints during the 2024 NFL Draft at Campus Martius Park and Hart Plaza. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Saints sign first-round OT Taliese Fuaga to $17.3M deal

Saints first-round pick Taliese Fuaga signed a fully guaranteed four-year contract on Thursday worth $17.3 million with a team option for a fifth season.

Fuaga was the 14th overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft and is expected to start immediately with the offensive line in flux in front of starting quarterback Derek Carr.

The team shared a video of Carr embracing Fuaga as they arrived at the team facility.

The contract matches the maximum draft slot afforded the Saints with the 14th pick.

Fuaga started 25 games at right tackle for Oregon State and could be tried at left tackle. Trevor Penning, a first-round pick in 2022 who was injured in his first training camp, was benched last season and replaced by Andrus Peat. But Peat left in free agency to sign with the Raiders.

Ryan Ramczyk is the returning starter at right tackle but he’s coming back from offseason knee surgery.

A consensus first-team All-American and first-team All-Pac-12 selection in 2023, Fuaga was the third offensive tackle drafted during a run on offensive players that lasted until the Colts selected UCLA defensive end Laiatu Latu 15th.

Notre Dame’s Joe Alt (Chargers, No. 5 overall), Alabama’s JC Latham (Titans, No. 7) and Penn State’s Olu Fashanu (Jets, No. 11) have not yet signed their rookie deals.

–Field Level Media

Aug 13, 2023; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA;  Detailed view of a New Orleans Saints helmet and glove.

Man who killed ex-Saints DE Will Smith gets 25 years

The man who shot and killed former Saints defensive end Will Smith in 2016 received a 25-year prison sentence on Thursday in New Orleans.

Cardell Hayes, 36, was convicted of manslaughter in January for shooting Smith eight times during a confrontation over a car accident.

Smith, 34, played nine seasons with the Saints after being selected in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft. He was a Pro Bowl selection in 2006 and a key member of the Super Bowl XLIV championship squad that helped to raise the city’s spirits in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Smith’s daughter, Lisa, who is now a teenager, was among the people who spoke in court prior to Thursday’s sentencing.

“Mr. Hayes, you ruined my life,” she said, per The Associated Press. “You took my father away from me.”

Hayes was originally convicted of the crime and sentenced to 25 years in 2016. However, the jury vote at that time was 10-2 and the conviction was later overturned after the U.S. Supreme Court banned non-unanimous verdicts.

Smith started 120 of his 139 games with New Orleans from 2004-12, registering 67.5 sacks, 20 forced fumbles, two interceptions and 463 tackles.

–Field Level Media

Aug 17, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Kellen Mond (7) looks for a receiver against the Philadelphia Eagles during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Backup QB Kellen Mond agrees to terms with Saints

The New Orleans Saints and quarterback Kellen Mond have agreed to contract terms.

The team announced the deal on Friday without any details of the length or financial value.

The Saints have been on the lookout for a backup QB this offseason after the departure of Jameis Winston to the Cleveland Browns as a free agent.

They previously signed journeyman Nathan Peterman and also have Jake Haener, a 2023 fourth-round pick, on board as a prospective understudy to Derek Carr.

The Minnesota Vikings selected Mond in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

He spent his first season with the Vikings, was with the Cleveland Browns briefly in 2022 and spent much of 2023 on the Indianapolis Colts’ practice squad. He has appeared in one regular-season game, completing two passes for 5 yards at Green Bay in Week 17 of 2021.

Mond, 24, was a four-year starter at Texas A&M and threw for 9,661 yards, 71 touchdowns and 27 interceptions.

–Field Level Media

November 27, 2022; Santa Clara, California, USA; New Orleans Saints offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk (71) after the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Saints OT Ryan Ramczyk’s knee slow in recovery from surgery

The right knee of New Orleans Saints right tackle Ryan Ramczyk has not responded as well as hoped following offseason surgery, coach Dennis Allen said Tuesday.

Ramczyk, 29, could miss the 2024 season in his recovery from cartilage damage, NFL Network reported Tuesday, but Allen was being a bit more conservative in his assessment in taking a wait-and-see approach in the offseason and into training camp.

“He just isn’t quite where I was probably hoping he’d be, and really quite frankly, where he was hoping he’d be,” Allen told reporters at the NFL’s annual league meeting in Orlando, Fla. “But … there’s a long time before we kick the ball off, so I wouldn’t jump to any conclusions right now, but we’ll see how it goes over the next three, four, five, six months, whatever that is, before we get to the beginning of the season.”

Allen said he felt better about Ramczyk’s medical situation at the time of the procedure than he did Tuesday. For his part, Ramczyk said in December that he was uncertain about his future and would consult with medical professionals and make the best decision.

He described the damage to the knee then as a “nagging problem,” saying there wasn’t much cartilage remaining.

“This year it’s bugged me a little bit more than it has in the past,” he said at the time. “At some point, I just couldn’t play anymore.”

Ramczyk played in 12 games (all starts) in 2023. He played in at least 15 regular-season games in five of his first six seasons, all with the Saints, who selected him in the first round (32nd overall) in the 2017 NFL Draft out of Wisconsin.

He was first-team All-Pro in 2019 and second team in 2018 and 2020.

Ramczyk signed a five-year, $96 million contract extension in June 2021 but had no guaranteed money remaining on it. He and the team renegotiated a deal that gives him $6.5 million in guaranteed money this season between base salary and bonuses. providing the team salary cap relief.

–Field Level Media

Feb 11, 2024; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) is pressured by San Francisco 49ers defensive end Chase Young (92) in the first half in Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Newly signed DE Chase Young to undergo neck surgery

Defensive end Chase Young, newly signed to a one-year, $13 million deal with the New Orleans Saints, will undergo neck surgery on Thursday, Sports Illustrated reported.

Recovery time is three to five months, which would make Young available for the start of the 2024 season, if he stays on schedule.

The Saints were aware of the issue, which is believed to stem from a stinger suffered in the 2023 preseason, and structured his contract accordingly, per the report.

Young is guaranteed to earn his $13 million in the event of a release. However, he will earn just over $5 million in base pay with a roster bonus of $470,000 per game, multiple outlets reported.

If he is active for all 17 games next season, he’d earn the additional $7.99 million on his contract.

The No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft by Washington, Young was dealt by the Commanders to the 49ers in exchange for a third-round draft pick last October. He played nine regular-season games for San Francisco, recording 10 tackles and 2.5 sacks. Young added 11 tackles in the 49ers’ playoff run, including a sack in the Super Bowl.

Young, 24, was the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2020 after registering 44 tackles, 7.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries in 15 games.

Still, his neck injury made it difficult to find a team willing to take the risk, per Sports Illustrated.

A torn right anterior cruciate ligament limited him to nine games in 2021 and three games in 2022. He bounced back to appear in seven games and start six times for Washington last year, producing 15 tackles and five sacks in those contests.

In 43 career NFL games (32 starts), Young has 100 tackles, 16.5 sacks, six forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

–Field Level Media

Feb 11, 2024; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) is pressured by San Francisco 49ers defensive end Chase Young (92) in the first half in Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Saints land DE Chase Young, reportedly for 1 year, $13M

Defensive end Chase Young is headed to a third team in two years, signing with the New Orleans Saints on Monday.

According to multiple media reports, Young landed a one-year, $13 million deal, with the money fully guaranteed.

The No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft by Washington, Young was dealt by the Commanders to the 49ers in exchange for a third-round draft pick last October. He played nine regular-season games for San Francisco, recording 10 tackles and 2.5 sacks. Young added 11 tackles in the 49ers’ playoff run, including a sack in the Super Bowl.

Young, 24, was the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2020 after registering 44 tackles, 7.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries in 15 games.

A torn right anterior cruciate ligament limited him to nine games in 2021 and three games in 2022. He bounced back to appear in seven games and start six times for Washington last year, producing 15 tackles and five sacks in those contests.

In 43 career NFL games (32 starts), Young has 100 tackles, 16.5 sacks, six forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

–Field Level Media

Nov 12, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston (2) against the Minnesota Vikings in the third quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Browns, QB Jameis Winston agree to 1-year deal

The Cleveland Browns are signing veteran quarterback Jameis Winston to a one-year, $8.7 million contract, The Athletic reported Tuesday.

Winston was the No. 1 pick of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and has spent his entire career in the NFC South with the Bucs (2015-19) and New Orleans Saints.

His signing means that Joe Flacco, who earned Comeback Player of the Year for leading the Browns to the postseason following the season-ending injury to Deshaun Watson, is unlikely to return to Cleveland.

Winston, 30, has appeared in 93 career games (80 starts) and has a 34-46 record — 28-42 with the Bucs and 6-4 with the Saints. He’s completed 61.2 percent of his passes for 22,104 yards with 141 touchdowns and 99 interceptions.

As a rusher, he has added 11 touchdowns and 1,214 yards on 298 carries.

In limited action in seven games as Derek Carr’s backup in New Orleans last season, Winston completed 25 passes for 264 yards with two TDs and three interceptions.

Also Tuesday, the Washington Commanders and quarterback Marcus Mariota reportedly agreed to terms on a one-year deal. Mariota was the No. 2 pick behind Winston in 2015.

–Field Level Media

Report: Saints, OLB Demario Davis rework contract

The New Orleans Saints and outside linebacker Demario Davis agreed to a reworked contract that gives the two-time Pro Bowl player a new two-year deal worth $17.25 million, ESPN reported Monday.

The new deal includes $13.25 fully guaranteed, per the report.

Davis, 35, figures to end his career in New Orleans, where he has spent the past six seasons. He had 6 1/2 sacks last season in 17 starts.

Davis has 42½ sacks in 194 career games (180 starts) with the New York Jets (2012-15; 2017), Cleveland Browns (2016) and Saints.

Davis has made the Pro Bowl the past two seasons and earned All-Pro honors in 2019.

–Field Level Media

Jan 7, 2024; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA;  New Orleans Saints safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) looks on against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Saints, S Tyrann Mathieu agree to two-year, $13M deal

Saints safety Tyrann Mathieu agreed to a two-year, $13 million deal to help ease the strained salary cap in New Orleans, according to multiple reports on Thursday.

Mathieu had one year remaining on his contract at a $12 million cap charge before the Saints stretched the deal through the 2025 season.

Mathieu, 31, joined the Saints as a free agent on a three-year deal in 2022. He turns 32 on May 13.

The former LSU star and New Orleans native is a four-time All-Pro (three first-team selections) and started 34 games with 166 tackles and seven interceptions in two seasons with the Saints.

Mathieu won a Super Bowl with the Kansas City Chiefs. He also has played for the Arizona Cardinals and Houston Texans.

–Field Level Media

Oct 29, 2023; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts cornerback Tony Brown (38) tackles New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (13) during the first quarter at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Saints to release WR Michael Thomas

The New Orleans Saints will release wide receiver Michael Thomas prior to the start of the new league year next week, The Times-Picayune reported Thursday.

Thomas was in line to receive a base salary of $1.21 million this season with a roster bonus of $2.2 million. He carried a cap hit of just over $12.4 million, per Spotrac.

Thomas, 31, has spent his entire career with New Orleans since being selected by the Saints in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft. The two-time All-Pro and three-time Pro Bowl selection recorded consecutive 1,000-yard seasons in his first four years in the league, culminating with 1,725 yards and nine touchdowns in 2019, when he was named Offensive Player of the Year.

Thomas has endured several injury-riddled seasons since catching an NFL record 149 passes in 2019. He has played in 20 games (15 starts) over the last four years, including missing the entire 2021 season due to an ankle injury.

Thomas had 39 catches for 448 yards with a touchdown in 10 games (seven starts) last season before landing on injured reserve due to an ailing knee.

–Field Level Media