The New Orleans Saints have lots of holes to fill this offseason, and will be looking to do so with both productivity and value in mind. Two of the biggest offensive needs (along with offensive line) are pass-catching options for Drew Brees outside of Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead. The New England Patriots have just cut both Wide Receiver Brandon LaFell and Tight End Scott Chandler, and either or both might be interesting options for the Saints to consider.
LaFell is a familiar face to Saints fans, having previously played for the NFC South rival Carolina Panthers from 2010 to 2013 after being selected by the Panthers in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft. LaFell spent the last two seasons catching passes from Tom Brady where he saw an increase in targets from his time in Carolina.
Injuries hampered the start of LaFell's 2015 season, as he spent the first six weeks on the PUP list. Even still, he was able to average 46 yards per game in the remaining 11 games he played. To put this into perspective, former Saints Marques Colston (that breaks my heart to type) averaged 43 yards per game in his final season in New Orleans. To continue the Colston comparison, LaFell is only two inches shorter than Marques, but is three years younger. LaFell would present a similar presence to Colston in both size and route-running, but has had an issue with drops throughout his career. Last year, LaFell had six drops, equating to approximately 8.1% of his targets. To put that into perspective, Colston dropped 4.5% of his targets, Snead 1.0%, Benjamin Watson 4.6%, and Brandon Coleman 2.0%.
Scott Chandler had a drop rate in 2015 closer to Benjamin Watson at 4.8%. Chandler is a 7-year NFL vet, but played most of his career in the AFC with the Buffalo Bills after being drafted in the fourth round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers. Chandler's 2015 season was also plagued by injuries, and a knee injury severely limited his usage in Bill Belichick's scheme. With the knee injury continuing into affect him, Chandler failed a physical from New England which prompted his release.
Chandler only had one year in New England working with Brady, and it was overshadowed by his knee injury and the presence of other-worldly Rob Gronkowski. However, during his time in Buffalo, without the luxury of a future Hall of Fame Quarterback throwing him the ball, Chandler was a more than productive offensive weapon. Chandler is also an adept blocker on the line (unlike that former New Orleans Saints Tight End who we won't mention, but his name rhymes with Gimmy Jam), logging over 1,100 run-blocking snaps during his time in Buffalo.
So should the Saints reach out to one or both and bring them in as a member of the Black and Gold? Make sure you vote in the poll (send me presents!), but before you do, I would be remiss not to mention that LaFell has Louisiana ties, playing college ball at LSU (SEC, SEC, SEC). If the Saints do bring in either, we can all pray they turn our better than the last former New England Patriot free agent... 'sup, Browner!