May 24, 2010

Notes as Saints begin OTAs

The Saints are set to begin OTA's, Organized Team Activities, this week.

OTA's are not mandatory offseason practices, but teams and teammates encourage all players to show up.

The Saints are expected to be without LT Jammal Brown, who has not signed his one-year, $3.619 million tender offer, the result of the long-discussed final league year.  The rules of the 2010 offseason really put the screws to Brown and other players who were prevented from hitting free agency, and instead could be retained by their 2009 teams with pre-set one-year contract offers.

The only mandatory practices of the Saints' offseason are in the team's one and only minicamp, June 4-6.  The OTA's meanwhile will run May 25-28 and then pick up again through June after the minicamp.

It is not known yet whether Brown and other unsigned RFA's will attend the minicamp.  Brown along with FS Roman Harper, WR Lance Moore, and RB Pierre Thomas are unsigned restricted free agents.

The Saints awarded RFA G Jahri Evans with a new contract, locking him down for seven years.  Brown, Harper Moore and Thomas await a similar payday, though Thomas may be the only one to receive a new contract from the Saints before training camp.

Meanwhile, Saints C Jonathan Goodwin, still under contract, switched representation from Fletcher Smith to Ben Dogra, a familiar name for the Saints' front office.  Dogra also represents Jammal Brown, and top overall 2010 draft pick QB Sam Bradford of the Rams.

Dogra has negotiated many contracts with the Saints, including Deuce McAllister, Courtney Watson, Malcolm Jenkins, and Brown's rookie contract in 2005. 

Saints add FB insurance: The Saints signed blocking back Jason McKie, their second ex-Bear addition of the offseason behind DE Alex Brown.  McKie, 5'11, 247, a prototypical, one-dimensional blocking fullback, provides the Saints insurance for Heath Evan's still-recovering ACL tear. 

McKie, a close friend and long-time teammate of Brown, had drawn little attention on the free agent market this offseason, only a short visit with the Rams.

Ingram Out: The newest Saint, LB Clint Ingram, joins a host of his new teammates on the injured list.  After arthroscopic knee surgery shortly before the draft, Ingram isn't expected to play until training camp.

Same story goes for WR Devery Henderson (sports hernia surgery), WR Robert Meachem (toe surgery), T Jon Stinchcomb (sports hernia surgery), and FS Darren Sharper (knee microfracture surgery).

Henderson and Stinchcomb's sports hernia surgeries this offseason are just the latest in a long string of Saints to be afflicted with the painful, frustrating injury.

Two out: The Saints released two undrafted rookies before OTA's begin: Michigan RB Carlos Brown and Vanderbilt S Ryan Hamilton.

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