The New Orleans Saints continued early tweaking to their 80-man roster on Saturday, partly due to the signing of second-round pick DB Tracy Porter.
Porter and the Saints came to terms Friday night and the Saints, in reaction, released TE Eric Johnson. The Saints also waived Ryan Senser and WR Carlos Robinson, who hurt his hamstring on Friday. The Saints then signed TE Buck Ortega and WR Curtis Hamilton.
Still, the media wanted to know when first-round pick DT Sedrick Ellis would join the team. Head coach Sean Payton was encouraged by the fact that both Jets DE Vernon Gholston and Chiefs DT Glenn Dorsey had signed, which could pave the way to set the market for Ellis’ deal.
“I think it’s getting closer,” Payton said.
Johnson’s release was curious in some ways, since he caught nearly 50 passes last year and would have provided the Saints with a solid No. 2 tight end behind Jeremy Shockey. Payton said the release came down to numbers, as in the roster, not Johnson’s production.
“It became more and more apparent that he was behind the eight-ball just from a reps standpoint,” Payton said. “We felt like we needed to get someone else in here that could help up during the early part of this preseason certainly, and Buck is someone who is familiar with what we’re doing.”
Johnson was also injured, Payton said.
Speaking of injuries, both RB Deuce McAllister and DT Brian Young had fluid drained from their knees on Saturday and missed the morning workouts. Both were due for MRIs Saturday afternoon.
DB Josh Bullocks returned to the practice field for the first time since camp began. Payton said Bullocks will remain on a one-practice-per day schedule to manage his recent injury. But Bullocks did work full speed and appears ready to compete.
With Ellis not in camp yet, Porter drew a lot of attention on Saturday.
“It’s good to get him out here. He’s in full pads and getting acclimated to what we’re doing,” Payton said. “As we move forward, we’ll have a better evaluation but it’s obviously good to have him in camp.”
— Patyon said LB Jonathan Vilma is showing no ill effects from the surgery that sidelined him last year.
— Payton said that PKs Martin Gramatica and Taylor Mehlhaff are competing for one spot.
Want more from Saturday’s workout? Saintsinsider’s Matthew Postins analyzes the impact of Saturday’s news about players like Deuce McAllister, Brian Young, Jonathan Vilma and Eric Johnson. Click here to read this exclusive article.
Matthew Postins is the publisher of Saintsinsider.com.