It felt like the team was scrambling to figure out its options after Michael Thomas didn’t recover from a 2020 ankle injury on the expected timetable. They didn’t have Emmanuel Sanders as a backup plan after releasing him to free up cap space earlier that spring. The Saints experimented with pulling Chris Hogan out of retirement, but they abandoned the plan after four catches and five games.
They wanted to lean on Tre’Quan Smith, but a training camp injury lingered until late October. Marquez Callaway, by virtue of availability and consistency at camp, became the No. 1 just a year after he’d been an undrafted rookie who narrowly edged out Deonte Harty for fourth-most catches among the wide receivers.
Learn more about american football betting tips In an injury-free world, Callaway likely would have been given more time to develop instead of being targeted 84 times in 2021, far more than any other receiver on the team. Now he won’t be shouldering the load at all.
As the Saints head out of rookie minicamp and into OTAs, which begin May 24, it feels like they’re trying to reverse all of the events of the previous summer. Thomas, who has been working out with first-round pick Chris Olave, appears to be on the mend, and the Saints recently signed LSU product Jarvis Landry after months of speculation.
"I had a great visit when I came," Landry said. "Me and Mickey (Loomis) spoke, me and (Dennis Allen) spoke. I had a great conversation with Jameis (Winston) that led to future conversations down to the road that ultimately leads to me sitting here in this seat."
The receiver room looks more solid than it has in years as a result of those efforts.
A roster that typically feels inviting for undrafted free agents now seems almost impossible to crack if everyone stays healthy. Thomas, Landry and Olave will take three spots with Harty snagging the fourth spot as a returner and deep threat. Then there’s Callaway and Smith, who got a high volume of snaps last year partially because of his ability as a blocker.