Every year, the signing of free agents and the drafting of new players can bring excitement to the coaching staff and fan base. However, it could also bring apprehension to some returning veteran players as young players are gunning for their spot. This year, wide receiver looks to be one of the most competitive positions this offseason. Consequently, veteran receiver Joseph Morgan’s job could be in jeopardy.
The New Orleans Saints saw wide receiver as the biggest need to address this offseason. And on the draft they acted accordingly trading up to snag Oregon State playmaker Brandin Cooks. The addition of Cooks and other talented undrafted free agents has all of a sudden made wide receiver a crowded position.
As of now, the only players that have locked up rosters spots are Cooks, elder statesman Marques Colston, and 2nd year player Kenny Stills. After that, there is open competition for the 4th and 5th spots.
Just a couple seasons ago, Morgan’s future looked bright as he was filling the deep threat role in the Saints’ offense. He scored three touchdowns in just 5 starts and averaged close of 40 yards per reception. After showing flashes, he was scheduled to be penciled into the number 3, and maybe even the number 2, spot going into 2013. Unfortunately for Morgan, an unwelcomed ACL injury in training camp cut his season short. His absence actually opened the door for Stills.
This year, Morgan still hasn’t made it to the field as he continues to rehab from his injury, which experts say is a little more complex than a regular ACL tear. Meanwhile, returning players like Nick Toon, Andy Tanner, and Robert Meachem will all be in contention for the hotly contested and highly coveted roster spots.
In addition, undrafted free agent Brandon Coleman out of Rutgers has the physical tools at 6’6” to make some noise. Besides Coleman, another sleeper receiver to look for is local undrafted prospect Charles Hawkins out of Southern University. Though diminutive in size, he has the type of speed that the Saints coveted in Morgan a couple of offseasons ago.
The coaching staff knows that if Morgan is healthy, he is good enough to contribute to the roster. However, not being able to play due to injury is hurting him every day since all the other players are able to show their worth. And unfortunately for Morgan, there are plenty of players who can fill his role (Stills, Cooks, or Hawkins, etc), which wasn’t the case a couple years ago. That, in combination with his minimal salary, could lead to his departure from the team.