Sources: Saints sign veteran WRs Floyd, Tate
Floyd, 28, a former first-round pick whose career was derailed by an arrest for extreme DUI, played for the Minnesota Vikings last season. He was hoping to jump-start his career with his hometown team but had only 10 catches for 78 yards.
Tate, 30, spent the past two seasons with the Buffalo Bills. In 2017, he caught six passes for 81 yards and a touchdown. But the Saints may be more interested in him as a return man. In nine seasons with the New England Patriots, Cincinnati Bengals and the Bills, He has averaged 9.5 yards on 200 career punt returns and 23.8 yards on 247 kickoff returns with three return touchdowns.
Both signings were first reported by the New Orleans Advocate.
The Saints’ receiver rotation might be hard to crack since they’ve added free agent Cameron Meredith and promising rookie Tre’Quan Smith to returning veterans Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn Jr., Brandon Coleman and Tommylee Lewis, among others.
Meredith has been a healthy participant during training camp after he suffered a major knee injury with the Chicago Bears last summer. And Smith, a third-round draft pick from Central Florida, has been generating the most buzz of any player in Saints camp so far with a series of impressive catches down the field.
However, the Saints did lose young receiver Travin Dural to a broken humerus during Sunday’s practice. And Coleman has not yet participated in training camp because of an unspecified injury. So they could use some depth in the position group — and it certainly wouldn’t hurt them to take a closer look at some experienced veterans.
Tate could be even more valuable to the Saints on special teams. Saints coach Sean Payton and special teams coach Mike Westhoff both expressed concern with the Saints’ crop of kick returners.
“Our return game is kind of like ‘The Bachelor’ right now,” Payton said. “We’ve got about 12 contestants, all with roses. We don’t know who our returner is gonna be. … And if she doesn’t like any of them, we’ll bring in more.”
Payton said running back Alvin Kamara (who returned a kickoff 106 yards for a touchdown late last season) could absolutely be a candidate to return kickoffs this year, despite his major role on offense. But Westhoff said they might consider doing that later in the season instead of the full year.
Floyd has played six seasons in the NFL, racking up 3,859 yards on 256 receptions with 24 touchdowns. He was a first-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals in 2012, 13th overall, coming out of Notre Dame.
On Dec. 12, 2016, Floyd was arrested in Scottsdale, Arizona, when police found him asleep at the wheel of his Cadillac Escalade. He was taken into custody for driving under the influence and released by the Cardinals two days later. The Patriots then claimed Floyd off waivers in December of that season. He played in three games but was inactive for Super Bowl LI. The Vikings signed the St. Paul native to a one-year deal before the 2017 season, taking a chance on the receiver.
Floyd served 24 days in jail in February 2017 after pleading guilty to an extreme DUI and was put on house arrest for a subsequent 96 days. He was suspended for the first four games of the 2017 season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. He said it was due to drinking kombucha tea.
Information from ESPN’s Mike Triplett was used in this report.