The New Orleans Saints have wrapped up their 2023 preseason and now for the hard part, the Saints start making cuts that will reduce their roster down to 53 by tomorrow at 3 pm.
Saints head coach Dennis Allen said after last night’s game there will be some tough decisions coming up as there are a lot of good football players on this team.
Canal Street Chronicles will keep you updated on all the news and roster moves that will take place over the next 24 hours.
New Orleans Saints Roster Cut Updates:
Former Tulane Green Wave linebacker Nick Anderson has been released by the Saints, per Simon Carroll on X (Formerly known as Twitter). An undrafted free agent signee, Anderson recorded eight tackles in three pre-season games with the Saints. Anderson could be a practice squad signee after the roster is finalized with linebacker being a thin position for the team.
Former @GreenWaveFB LB Nick Anderson has been released by the #Saints, per source.— Simon Carroll (@NFLDraftSi) August 28, 2023
Great football player, even better human being. He's worked through bigger adversity than this. pic.twitter.com/pVh26lafve
The Saints announced several more roster moves on the evening of Monday, August 28, according to Mike Triplett.
Defensive Tackle Prince Emili was released. Emili managed just three tackles in the Saints three pre-season games. After being signed by the Buffalo Bills after the 2022 NFL Draft, Emili spent most of his time on the Bills, and afterward, Saints practice squad.
Jake Bargas was also released on Monday evening. The fullback from North Carolina was fighting Adam Prentice for a job on the roster. The 26-year old Bargas will now look for another opportunity after failing to secure a spot with the Saints.
Saints are releasing third-year WR Kawaan Baker, per source. A seventh-round draft pick in 2021 who has been on and off the team/practice squad ever since.— Mike Triplett (@MikeTriplett) August 29, 2023
The biggest release so far is the experimental wide receiver Kawaan Baker. Baker recorded four receptions on seven targets this pre-season in limited action. The 2021 seventh round selection appeared in just two regular season games for the Saints since being drafted. With a suddenly deep wide receiver room, and the emergence of rookie A.T. Perry, Baker finds himself as the odd man out with rosters being trimmed down.
Tuesday, August 29 Roster Updates
The Saints have started trimming their cornerback roster, with two moves taking place the morning of August 29. Troy Pride Jr and Adrian Frye were both released, according to Jordan Schultz and Mike Triplett, respectively. Pride had a good pre-season with eight total tackles and a pass deflection in the three games. Both players were battling for a roster spot in what is the deepest position for the Saints. As stated by Triplett, Frye could be brought back on the practice squad. Expect Pride to be signed by a corner-needy team though.
The biggest news from the cornerback position is the release of veteran Bradley Roby, according to Ian Rapoport. Roby appeared in 27 games for the Saints the last two seasons, primarily playing as the slot corner. Another victim of a deep secondary, Roby was due over $4 million this season. It is unlikely that the former first-round selection is without a team long though as help in the secondary is valued, especially from a nine-year veteran.
The roster releases are moving quickly on Tuesday afternoon. Several surprise players released today will likely find a new home quickly. These include linebacker Jaylon Smith, offensive lineman Calvin Throckmorton, linebacker Niko Lalos, and running back Ellis Merriweather. Each of these players had good pre-seasons but were still surprisingly cut. Merriweather and Lalos flashed in every pre-season game. The Saints could hope to bring all of these players back on the practice squad.
Deep positional battles caused several players to be released, such as tight end Jesse James, safety Johnathan Abram, and defensive tackles Jerron Cage and Jack Heflin. It is likely that these players catch on elsewhere or the Saints could attempt to negotiate a practice squad contract with the veterans such as Abram and James. With so many quality players though, the Saints could use their practice squad slots at other positions.
Other players released are offensive lineman Mark Evans, linebacker Ty Summers, and offensive tackle Storm Norton. Adding to the releases is wide receiver Shaq Davis, cornerback Smoke Monday, cornerback Anthony Johnson, and center Alex Pihlstrom.
The Saints have waived TE Lucus Krull, per source.
Final roster releases
The final round of releases was announced on the official New Orleans Saints website. The following names did not make the final 53-man roster:
- Ryan Connelly, linebacker
- J.P. Holtz, tight end
- Darrel Williams, running back
- Lynn Bowden Jr., wide receiver
- Chuck Filiaga, guard
- Blake Gillikin, punter
- Lewis Kidd, offensive lineman
- Jontrae Kirklin, wide receiver
- Tommy Kraemer, guard
- Anthony Orji, linebacker
- Kyle Phillips, defensive end
Most of these releases are not surprising, especially considering the positional battles that occurred during the pre-season. Blake Gillikin might be the biggest surprise on this list considering how well he played at times last season. It is not likely that he makes it through waivers. Some players who could easily end up on the practice squad include Jontrae Kirklin and Kyle Phillips. With the pending suspension of Alvin Kamara, either Darrel Williams or the aforementioned Ellis Merriweather could be brought back to the roster for those three games.
All NFL teams have 16 practice squad positions open beginning on Wednesday August 30, 2023. Expect many of these players who had highlights in the pre-season to secure jobs before the season begins.