Should the Saints Sign Free Agent WR Robert Meachem?

Kevin C. Cox

He may not be a typical NFL star receiver, but No.17 gives plenty of bang for his buck in Sean Payton's system.

With the New Orleans Saints recently shedding several members of their championship-winning 2009 squad, they may be looking to add to the six who are still under contract. The team is rumored to have expressed interest in re-signing Robert Meachem, one of three unrestricted free agents which helped New Orleans win Super Bowl XLIV.

Drafted by the Saints in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft, Meachem followed his five-year, $11.3 million contract by signing a four-year deal with the San Diego Chargers for $25.5 million ($14 million guaranteed). Considered a 2012 free agent bust after catching only 14 passes for 207 yards and two TDs, Meachem was released by the Chargers even though they had guaranteed him $5 million for the 2013 season.

In September, the wide receiver was once again playing in black and gold, adding a $715,000 base salary with the Saints to the $5 million he was being paid by the Chargers for the 2013 season. And though he only had two more receptions during the 2013 season than he tallied in San Diego, No.17 certainly earned his paycheck from the Saints. His 20.3 yards per catch led the team, and his 16 receptions for 324 yards included a couple of touchdowns. Additionally, his hustle and blocking ability are often underrated by fans looking for gaudy stats; while his uncanny ability to remain focused on the ball has resulted in several memorable plays for the Saints.

Although it has been rumored that the Dallas Cowboys may target Meachem, he is not any more likely to perform impressively in a new system there than he did in San Diego, or during his first year in New Orleans. Any team hoping for a plug-and-play star receiver will be disappointed; but Sean Payton knows precisely how to use him. If the Saints can take advantage of his apparent love for the team and the city, and keep him for close to the veteran minimum, the wide receiver may again prove a valuable asset to the team for a relatively low cap hit.

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