The Advocate’s Nick Underhill and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport each reported that the New Orleans Saints will be placing starting defensive back Kenny Vaccaro on injured reserve. This comes in anticipation of surgeries to correct a wrist injury Vaccaro has been playing through all year as well as a groin injury that recently worsened. Underhill quotes a source saying Vaccaro was basically limited to playing one of the most-running-involved positions in football on one leg.
#Saints S Kenny Vaccaro is going on Injured Reserve, sources say. Crazy to think he’s been playing on an adductor completely torn off the bone, as well as an injured wrist. He’ll need surgery to fix both. Big loss for New Orleans.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 21, 2017
The wrist injury was brought to light for the first time earlier today. Whatever your opinion of Vaccaro’s level of play (personally I think he’s become something of a liability), losing a starter this late in the season and at such a crucial moment looms large for New Orleans.
In the short-term, this means the Saints will be looking to younger players like Vonn Bell, Rafael Bush, and Chris Banjo to step up in Vaccaro’s absence. P.J. Williams may also see more action as Vaccaro had basically been the starting slot cornerback. Hopefully those guys are up to the task and can effectively fill in.
In the longer view, this is awful for Vaccaro’s finances. He will be an unrestricted free agent in the spring and the Saints have an opportunity now to see if cheaper, younger talent can do what he’s done. He’s already resting beneath the sword of Damocles (the threat of a 10-game suspension) after missing four games last year to a failed Adderall test.
Now Vaccaro is going into free agency with a resume including that disciplinary issue, severe injuries to his groin and wrist, inconsistent play, and a reputation for collecting penalty flags. If the Saints do decide to keep Vaccaro in town, it won’t be on a big-money deal. Here’s hoping things improve for the one-time Texas Longhorns star.