September 4, 2011

Saints to sign TE Gilmore

Nine years ago today, John Gilmore, Jr. officially ended his first tour as a New Orleans Saint and signed with the Tampa Bay Bucs practice squad.

Today, the Saints have reportedly agreed to sign Gilmore, 32, who is expected to be the third tight end behind Jimmy Graham and David Thomas.  Gilmore is a blocking tight end, with a history of being only a situational pass catcher.  He has averaged less than one reception every two games during his nine year career.

Gilmore, 6'5, 257, was drafted by the Saints in the sixth round of the 2002 NFL Draft, but never played for the Saints and was cut after preseason.  He signed with the Bucs practice squad, but found himself in Chicago by midseason and played eight games for the Bears, starting the final four, catching 10 passes for 130 yards.

Gilmore spent six years in Chicago before signing back with Tampa Bay in 2008.  Gilmore became the Bucs' co-starter alongside Kellen Winslow, Jr., starting 11 games in 2010.

Gilmore spent the preseason and training camp with the Steelers, but didn't win a tough tight end competition and was cut yesterday.

Gilmore has played in six games against the Saints in his career, three each with the Bears and Bucs.  He played against the Saints in the 2006 NFC Championship game and caught one pass, in the first quarter, for three yards.    He played but did not start in Super Bowl XLI.  As a Buc, he caught three passes in three games, for a total of 20 yards.

The Saints currently have two fullbacks on the roster and with Gilmore now have three tight ends.  The Saints have historically only kept one fullback and four tight ends, but the competition between Jed Collins and Korey Hall was a good one in camp, and both players have versatility and special teams skill.

UPDATE: The Saints also put in a waiver claim on rookie TE Lee Smith, who was waived by the Patriots.  Smith was claimed by the Saints, 49ers, Bucs, and Jets, but was awarded to the Bills.  Smith, 6'6, 266, was a fifth round pick of the Patriots in April out of Marshall.

UPDATE: The Saints released LB Ramon Humber to make room for Gilmore.

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