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MEREDITH OUT, MATTHEWS IN? Saints Wide Receiver Position Could Get “Shaken Up” This Summer

"Out of sight, out of mind". It's an expression which usually means that a person stops thinking about something or someone if he or she does not see that thing or person for an extended period of time. It also accurately describes the current status of Saints 5th year veteran WR Cam Meredith.

With Meredith’s absence(s), several other Saints WR’s have gotten the opportunity to shine brightly; and a handful of them stood out in the past several days at the team's recently-completed 2019 Mini-Camp that ended yesterday. Most notably, the one receiver that stood out most was former Tennessee Titans star and 8th year veteran WR Rishard Matthews, who made several nice grabs after being given a try-out opportunity by the team and subsequently was officially signed by the Saints after yesterday's final practice.

The signing of the 29-year old Matthews should give the former University of Nevada star an even further opportunity to make the team's final 53-,man roster at the end of Pre-Season in late August.

Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Hebert/NewOrleansSaints.com

But it also means that the 26-tear old Meredith needs to return to action by the time Training Camp rolls around at the tail end of next month. Meredith didn't participate in any of the team drills during any of the three practices at Mini-Camp, and remained either off to the side while working with a team trainer, or didn’t dress out in uniform at all.,

Meredith — the former undrafted free agent out of Illinois State University and who the team signed as a restricted free agent from the Chicago Bears during 2018 NFL Free Agency last off-season — was active for the first few weeks of the 2018 Regular Season last year; until the team’s coaching staff decided to place him on Injured Reserve after it was determined that his knee hadn’t fully healed as it previously had been anticipated.

The team has been tight-lipped regarding Meredith’s current status, and one can only surmise that the organization is either being overly cautious with his seemingly never-ending recovery from surgery or perhaps Meredith has experienced some sort of set-back. Nevertheless, Meredith would appear to be in SERIOUS DANGER of being cut or outright released — and sadly becoming yet another Free Agent “bust” for the Black and Gold in recent years.

Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

But additionally it would also likely "shake up" the entire Saints wide receiver position's "pecking order".behind the current three Saints WR's that are considered to be locks to make the Final Roster with veteran starters Michael Thomas and Ted Ginn, Jr., along with 2nd year star Tre'Quan Smith.

Matthews now will join fellow WR's Keith Kirkwood, Austin Carr, Emmanuel ButlerLil’Jordan Humphries, Simmie Cobbs, Deonte Harris. Cyril Grayson, Jr.  and Chad Hansen; in what will be a wide open competition this Summer; for the other 2 and possibly 3 more WR spots on the Final Roster.

For Matthews specifically, it will be a chance to prove to everyone that he is now healthy himself; after the Santa Ana, California native only managed to play in five games last year for the New York Jets; with whom he recording just two catches for 13 yards before being placed on injured reserve this past December.

Prior to playing with the Jets last year, Matthews spent two whole seasons with the Titans after he signed with them in 2016 NFL Free Agency, but he only played only 8 total games last season — three of them with Tennessee. But was given his release last season during Week #4; when he complained about a lack of playing time and targets.

Photo Credit: George Walker IV, The Tennessean

The Titans granted his request the next day and released him; and the 6-foot-even, 217 pound Matthews finished his time in Nashville with a total of 121 receptions, 1,751 receiving yards, and 13 receiving touchdowns. Matthews' best season came in 2016, when he had 65 receptions for 9 TD's and 945 yards.

Matthews originally began his pro career with the Miami Dolphins, who drafted him in the 7th Round of the 2012 NFL Draft; following his time spent in Reno. Nevada with the University of Nevada Wolfpack football program; where he caught passes from then Nevada QB (and controversial former San Francisco 49ers starting QB) Colin Kaepernick.

Matthews tallied 147 receptions for 2,243 yards and 13 touchdowns during his time time spent in Reno, where he was named 2nd-team All-WAC (Western Athletic Conference) at wide receiver. He was then chosen by the Dolphins in the 7th and final round with the 227th overall pick; where he spent his first 4 NFL seasons and played in 49 games; and put up a grand total of 107 receptions for 1,396 yards and 21 TD's.

Photo courtesy of The Associated Press

In his 8-year NFL career up to this point, Matthews has caught a grand total of 230 receptions for 3,160 yards and 21 total TD's.

And now, the veteran NFL star will now turn his focus towards earning the designated "slot" WR role against most of those other Saints WR's listed up above — and in the process, helping do his own part to "shake up" the entire Saints WR position later this Summer.

Buckle up tight, Who Dats. Things are just now starting to "heat up".....

 

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Big Easy Magazine contributing writer and Saints News Network columnist Barry Hirstius is a 51-year old semi-retired journalist, former New Orleans-area sports editor, and writer previously with several sites that exclusively cover the New Orleans Saints football team. Additionally, he is a recurring guest on a variety of local Sports Talk Radio programs. Barry is also a New Orleans native who grew up as a fan of the team while attending games as a young boy at the old Tulane Stadium in the early 1970’s, originally following and now covering the team for a span of over 40 plus years. And perhaps most importantly of all: he is the Grandfather of two beautiful young girls, Jasmine and Serenity.....

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