July 24, 2012

Saints Open Training Camp

The Saints held their first press conferences of the season today and welcomed a fully-signed roster to their Metairie Headquarters.

The Saints report to camp day, undergo fitness conditioning tests tomorrow and open practices on Thursday, June 26.

All five draft picks - and most importantly, QB Drew Brees - were happy and under contract days before camp opened, not always the news at the start of training camp.

With the new CBA locking down draft pick contracts and the lack of a high-round pick, the Saints front office concentrated most of their negotiating hours on Brees, whose new deal is the richest in league history.

The Saints were behind the pack with signing their draft picks - some had their rookies signed in May - but got their players in well ahead of time, with fourth round pick WR Nick Toon the last to ink a rookie deal.

Third round pick DT Akiem Hicks, the top pick in the Saints' decapitated draft class, signed at the end of June but may end up on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list to start camp because of a hand fracture  and then a re-injury he suffered at the team's rookie camp and then full minicamp.

MLB Jonathan Vilma was placed on the reserve/suspended list to begin camp, while his long-shot court proceedings go forward against the league and commissioner Goodell. Suspended the entire season, Vilma and his large cap value won't count against the Saints in 2010, save for a surprise legal victory.

The Saints enter camp light one roster spot because of Vilma.  They announced the signing of 6'2, 233, TE Derek Schouman, who played three seasons in Buffalo that were ended by injuries.  In 2010 he struggled to get on the field, ending that season with a short stint in St. Louis, and was cut by Washington after training camp 2011.

The Saints also waived street free agent signing WR Kevin Hardy and signed WR Marques Clark, who graduated from Henderson State in 2006 and hasn't played in the NFL.

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