July 23, 2010

Saints re-sign hard-hitting DE McCray

A month after surprisingly cutting starting defensive end Bobby McCray, the Saints have re-signed the veteran to a one-year contract.

The new one year contract pays McCray less than half what he was due under his prior contract, signed in March of 2008.McCray was cut in June before a $1.25 million roster bonus was due to be paid to him, plus a base salary of $2 million in 2010.  The new deal will pay McCray $1.5 million for one year, with escalators possible up to an additional $1 million.

The former Florida Gator earned a reputation as an enforcer on the Saints' defense, defensive monster hits in the Saints' playoff run when McCray was the starter for all three games.  His second quarter hit in the divisional playoffs knocked Kurt Warner temporarily out of the game.

However, on the first play from scrimmage in that game, McCray was solo blocked cold by Cardinals TE Jerame Tuman as Tim Hightower ran 70 yards off right tackle.

McCray's hits on Brett Favre in the NFC Championship game drew fines from the NFL.

Tall at 6'6 and with good speed, McCray was being tried at outside linebacker in the Saints' minicamp, where he also practiced at starting left defensive end.

McCray was second among Saints defensive ends in quarterback hits last season with 10, behind Will Smith with 24, though McCray collected only two sacks and three tackles for loss all season, and none in the playoffs.

McCray is expected to compete with Jimmy Wilkerson and Alex Brown for the starting defensive end job across from Will Smith. McCray's happy return to New Orleans after a month on the open market ensures superior depth at the job for the Saints.  Also on the roster at the spot are coach-favorite Jeff Charleston and promising undrafted rookie Junior Gallette.

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