February 22, 2011

TE Shockey, $4+ million salary cut

The Saints have cut starting tight end Jeremy Shockey, due $4.2 million in the final year of his 2007 contract extension, plus $500,000 more in other bonuses.

Acquired in 2008 from the Giants for 2nd and 5th round draft picks, Shockey played three injury-limited seasons for the Saints.  He started 34 of a possible 48 regular season games in three seasons, collecting 139 passes for 1460 yards and six touchdowns.  But his toughness was frequently on display, playing through injuries that would had sidelined others.

Following a tough-it-out, limping touchdown catch against the Cardinals in the 2007 playoffs, Shockey would have a huge impact in the biggest game in Saints history. He caught three passes for 13 yards, including a two-yard touchdown against the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV, which gave the Saints a lead they would never surrender.

Shockey returned from a groin injury to play in the Saints' playoff loss to Seattle, catching two passes for 24 yards.

The Saints hand the starting tight end job to second year upstart Jimmy Graham, a sleeper pick in the third round last year who turned out to be the Saints' most impressive rookie at season's end.  A personal friend of Shockey and somewhat of a protege', sharing his U of Miami roots, Graham caught 31 passes for 356 yards and five touchdowns in the final 11 games of the season.  His game-winner against Atlanta was a breakout moment for the budding young star.

Fox Sports' Jay Glazer first reported the news of Shockey's release via Twitter, and the Saints confirmed the news minutes later.

GM Mickey Loomis issued this statement: "I’d like to thank Jeremy for the contributions he made to our team during his time in New Orleans. These decisions are never easy to make and we wish him the best in the future."

Shockey had been vacationing in South America earlier this month.

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