May 14, 2008

Saints Sign Four From Rookie Camp, Cut Four

Payton swaps camp arm Ostrander for camp arm Lulay; LSU OL Carnell Stewart signed

The Saints added four players after the rookie minicamp, all of whom tried out for the team this past weekend at the Saints' rookie minicamp.

Numerous players worked at the minicamp on a tryout basis, without contract, in addition to the Saints' six draft picks and a host of signed undrafted rookies. Two of the new players are rookies, two more are street free agents.

LSU OL Carnell Stewart is from John Curtis high school and was raised in River Ridge, Louisiana. A bookend right tackle for the national champion Tigers. He played only two years of offense at tackle, starting as a senior, and spent the first three years of his college career at defensive tackle. Stewart, 6'5, 290 pounds, originally signed with the Giants after the draft but failed his physical and was cut. The other rookie is Troy DT Marcus Pittman, 22, 6'4, 285 pounds, was a part-time starter and a juco transfer.

The street free agents are former Montana State QB Travis Lulay and former Grand Rapids Community College WR Carlos Robinson. Lulay replaces rookie QB TC Ostrander on the roster, who was cut to make room for him. Lulay, 6'2, 218 pounds, is two years out of college and played in the now-defunct NFL Europa league, and had been an offseason member of the Seahawks until this past April when he was cut. Lulay is a great athlete and runs well. Robinson, 6'1, 180 pounds, is two years out of community college with a 44" vertical.

The Saints waived Ostrander along with other undrafted rookies OL Akim Millington, OL Nate McManus and WR Evan Moore.

In other free agent news, former Millsaps wide receiver who worked with the Saints during their training camp last year at the school, has signed in the Canadian Football League with Calgary.

Rookie Cap: The Saints have been given $4,295,240 to sign their rookies, including seventh overall pick DT Sedrick Ellis.

This will be the first year the Saints have negotiated their rookie contracts without Russ Ball since 2001. The last first round pick to sign without Ball on staff was Deuce McAllister.

The Saints' top pick Ellis is represented by the same agency that represents the Saints' second round pick, Maximum Sports.

Smith Not Happy: DE Will Smith has yet to report to the team's offseason conditioning program because he wants a new contract, and his agent Joel Segal isn't unfamiliar to the Saints. He negotiated deals for Reggie Bush, He'll be negotiating new deals for Smith and WR Marques Colston soon. The two sides are in talks, and the deal is expected to be boxed in by the six-year, $63 million contract signed by teammate Charles Grant and the six year, $74 million deal just signed by Vikings DE Jared Allen.

Smith, 26, was the consummate teammate last year, playing through the season despite his teammate Charles Grant having just signed his new contract. Smith earned only $695,000 in 2007, part of his rookie contract signed in 2004. Smith outplayed Grant over the past two seasons and is the team's best defensive player. He has earned more than $20 million in his contract so far and is scheduled to make $1.3 million in 2008.

This weekend Smith is hosting a free football camp at his high school, Thomas R. Proctor High School, in Utica, NY.

Notes: Former Saints MLB Ronald McKinnon has been elected to the Divisional Class of the College Football Hall of Fame. McKinnon starred at North Alabama University from 1992-1995... Drew Brees was in the Hive for Game 5 of the playoffs last night and tossed a signed football into the stands. A number of Saints and owner Tom Benson have been guests at the Hornets games...

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