Following the paths of ex-Saints Chuck Muncie, Wes Chandler, Fred McCrary out west, unrestricted free agent WR Robert Meachem has signed with the Chargers. Strangely, Meachem was widely reported to be in Buffalo, New York visiting with the Bills when he signed with San Diego.
The first of many Saint free agents to sign with new teams, Meachem's new four-year contract was announced by the team after 11pm CST, roughly eight hours after free agency opened on March 13.
Meachem was the first round pick of the Saints in 2007. The underclassman speedster from Tennessee was chosen specifically to replace departing WR Joe Horn, who had signed with Atlanta a month and a half prior to the draft. The Saints also drafted his college roommate in the seventh round, LB Marvin Mitchell.
Given a virtual "redshirt" as a rookie as he strengthened a college knee injury, Meachem couldn't run full speed for most of his rookie season after knee surgery. His first catch as a pro was a touchdown against the Redskins in Week Two the following year.
His sophomore season was quiet, with only nine catches and a pair of touchdowns through 15 games. Meachem finished strong, scoring on an end-around run against Detroit in Week 16 and in Week 17 as Brees came up just short of Dan Marino's then-record season yardage mark, Meachem caught three passes for 36 yards and a score.
Meachem blossomed in the Saints' Super Bowl XLIV title run, catching at least one touchdown in five straight midseason games, including his memorable strip-and-score against Washington when he ripped the intercepted football away away from Redskins DB Kareem Moore and ran the other way for a game-tying touchdown.
He finished 2009 with 45 catches for 722 yards and ten touchdowns, and caught four passes in the playoffs including two in Super Bowl XLIV.
Meachem faded in the 2009 postseason stretch because of a toe injury that required offseason surgery and rehab. He began the 2010 season on the PUP and was activated late in preseason.
In 2010 and 2011 he combined for 88 catches, 1258 yards and 11 touchdowns as a complimentary receiver to Marques Colston, Devery Henderson and Lance Moore.
Meachem could have been considered a starter for the past three seasons, but so were the three other Saint receivers, who all saw plenty of playing time in the Saints offense.