The New Orleans Saints have signed their first contract extension of the 2018 offseason by re-signing long snapper Zach Wood, according to reports from Herbie Teope of the Times-Picayune and Joel Erickson of the Advocate. Wood was scheduled to be an exclusive-rights free agent had he not agreed to play on a $550,000 contract for the 2018 season.
Wood’s return should help ease concerns about a position that the Saints struggled to address this time last year. They worked through five different long snappers over the course of offseason practices, training camp, and even into preseason exhibition games: including names like Chase Dominguez, Justin Drescher, Thomas Gafford, Jesse Schmitt, and Jon Dorenbos (whose trade from the Philadelphia Eagles was voided after a Saints team doctor noticed a life-threatening heart condition).
Between longtime punter Thomas Morstead, third-year placekicker Wil Lutz, and now the 25-year-old Wood, the Saints look to have a handle on their kicking specialists for the forseeable future. Wood spoke glowingly of his relationship with Morstead and Lutz in an interview with Teope:
“I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys to work with. Tom’s been around for a long time, he’s a mentor for me and he helped guide me through my rookie season and he’s going to continue helping me because I’m just a young guy.
”Working with Wil, somebody who is so dependable and also my age, I’ve been able to play with him and build a relationship with him better than I feel like I would anywhere else. I can count on those guys and they can count on me, and I think that works well between the three of us.”