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Short-Term Saints: David Patten

Looking back at the brief stints of some veteran free agents who had signed with the Saints in the Payton era.

New Orleans Saints v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

In this series we recall some of the New Orleans Saints veteran free agent signings over the past decade and look back at the impact they made, if any, in their short stay in New Orleans.

Today’s subject is veteran wide receiver David Patten. Patten signed a one-year contract with the Saints in the spring of 2007 to add depth to their receiving corps. Patten, along with draftee Robert Meachem, was brought into New Orleans to help replenish a receiving corps fresh off the loss of fan-favorite, and long-time starter, Joe Horn. Patten would have to earn a spot, along with fellow veteran Terrance Copper, in backing up starters Marques Colston and Devery Henderson.

Before coming to New Orleans, Patten started his career in the Arena Football League after going undrafted in 1996. He made his first NFL roster a year later when he signed with the New York Giants, where he spent 3 seasons. He signed as a free agent in 1999 with the expansion Cleveland Browns and stayed there for a year before making the biggest signing of his career the following season.

Patten joined the New England Patriots as a free agent in 2001. That very season, Patten won his first of 3 Super Bowl rings with the Patriots. He spent just four seasons in New England but he had career years there, along with building his ring collection. After seeing his role diminish in New England during their 2004 Super Bowl run, it was time for Patten to make way for younger stars in the Patriots’ receiving corps.

In 2005, Patten signed with the Washington Redskins, where he spent two seasons plagued with injury and a lack of production. Following the 2006 season, he would be released. After the disastrous stint in Washington, it seemed as though Patten’s career was likely over. Just as it looked like his playing days may be over, the Saints came calling. (This is a theme that will be seen repeatedly in this series).

David Patten would sign a one-year free agent contract with the Saints in the Spring of 2007, mere weeks after his release from Washington. Considering how the last few seasons of his career had played out, it felt pretty clear that he was being brought in to be a camp body and a veteran presence.

Patten was just one part of a bigger design to reload the receiving corps along with the aforementioned Colston, Henderson, and Copper, as well as Lance Moore, who was looking to join the roster full-time in 2007. The Saints would even spend their first pick in the 2007 Draft on Tennessee wide receiver, Robert Meachem, to continue the upgrade.

Of all these names, Patten, the castoff veteran, was arguably the least likely to stand out. Surprisingly enough though, Patten had a very good first season in New Orleans, his best statistical season since his peak years in New England, in fact. He was part of a dynamic receiving corps that saw Drew Brees reach career highs in passing yards and touchdowns in 2007.

The 2008 season began equally as well for Patten, as he started in 3 of the first 4 games, but injuries cut his season short. He would only see the field in 5 games that season. Patten would be released following the 2008 season, as Moore had proven ready to take the lead with Colston and Henderson following his breakout 2008 season.

Unfortunately, injuries cut short Patten’s second year in New Orleans and with it his career as a Saint. The black and gold would be the last uniform he would ever wear in a regular season game in the NFL. (Another recurring theme we will see in this series). When healthy for that short stint, Patten produced well with Drew Brees and the Saints. His signing wasn't spectacular, but it was shrewd.

David Patten helped bridge the short gap from the rookie Marques Colston and veteran Joe Horn team before him, to the team-leader Marques Colston and standout Lance Moore teams that followed him. He did his job and did it well. It was a short run, but it was appreciated. David Patten was a Short-Term Saint that exceeded expectations, albeit just for 21 games, but history remains kind to his “cup of coffee” in New Orleans.


What type of impact did you expect from Patten when he first signed?

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    He would be a key player on offense
    (24 votes)
  • 36%
    He would contribute as a backup
    (55 votes)
  • 36%
    He would have little impact but serve as a mentor
    (54 votes)
  • 10%
    He would be lucky to even make the roster
    (16 votes)
149 votes total Vote Now