By now we've all heard the Saints signed veteran receiver Mark Bradley. Bradley has had a mediocre career up to this point, but he's a legitimate receiver in the league. His best season was a 30 catch, 3 touchdown season with the Kansas City Chiefs back in 2008. He's also played as a contributor on the Bears, including the team the beat the Saints 4 years ago in the NFC Championship and made it to the Super Bowl. He could just end up being a camp body, but based on his track record you have to figure the guy stands a moderate chance to compete. So what does his signing mean for everyone else?
I'm not going to lie, being the paranoid person that I am, the first thing I thought when I heard this news was "crap, is Robert Meachem much worse off than the coaching staff is leading us to believe?". I'm going to pretend that Meachem is on course to come back in a couple weeks like Sean Payton has said and my mini moment of heart failure was nothing more than me being me. Assuming Meachem will be fine (please God let that be true), you figure he along with Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, and Lance Moore are all givens to have roster spots. You figure Courtney Roby, too, as an ace gunner and top notch return man, probably has safe passage to the final 53. There's a chance the Saints will ultimately stick with 5 receivers on the roster, but I think they'll go with 6 based on the heavy amount of rotation they go through at that position in the course of a game. So what does the signing of Mark Bradley mean? I believe it's putting Adrian Arrington and Rod Harper on notice that they're going to have to compete with him for the 6th and final roster spot allotted to a receiver on the team.
Every report we've gotten in camp so far is that Rod Harper is tearing it up. We all saw him tear it up last preseason, and we know he has value on special teams. Arrington's camp has been a little quieter thus far, but we know the coaching staff is extremely high on his potential. It seems like the #6 spot is having just fine competition as is, so why bring in Bradley to cloud the issue? Is he really going to give the two youngsters who know the system and already have the coaching staff's approval a run for their money? I would think no, but that makes the signing all the more confusing. Maybe competition is good for everyone, and the coaches are just thinking "hey if this makes Rod Harper a better football player, then we'll end up being better off for it". Let's also not forget Larry Beavers, Montez Billings, Matt Simon and Andy Tanner who will all get a shot at proving themselves in preseason and are competing for a job with the team as well. Those guys are all longshots to make the team but I don't want to write them off completely. There's no word on who the Saints released to make room for Bradley, but I have to believe it's one of those four guys I just named.
So I'm thinking the Saints keep 6 receivers including Roby. Do you agree? If so, who do you think ends up taking that final spot?
ps. Chris Paul still makes me sad