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Saints Sign Hoomanawanui But Lose Watson To Ravens

Jacksonville Jaguars v New Orleans Saints
(photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

The Saints signed Michael Hoomanawanui to a three-year deal, but the Ravens took Benjamin Watson from New Orleans on the same day.

Hoomanawanui protected Drew Brees last season at tight end and occasionally fullback, and he even collected three TD passes for his efforts. ESPN’s Mike Triplett reported Tuesday that the Saints rewarded “Hooman” with a three-year deal for helping keep Brees upright and healthy, but the loss of Watson is a big blow.

Every quarterback loves a safety blanket. Watson was reliable as it gets last season, hauling in 74 passes for 825 yards and six touchdowns. It was the best year of his career at the age of 35, and it’s a shame he’ll be leaving town.

Rapaport, along with several other sources, confirmed Baltimore’s burglary of Ben. Technically, it’s not stealing because it’s free agency, but it definitely feels like the Saints have been stripped of a valuable piece from their jewelry box. Watson was a hidden gem last year, so fans shouldn’t be upset about him finding fair market value.

There are still some intriguing options in free agency at the tight end position, including an interesting talent from right down I-10.

Cajuns fans remember Ladarius Green’s game. He’s a skilled route runner with hands like glue. With Hoomanawanui handling most of the blocking duties, Green could blossom with Brees as his quarterback.

It’s going to be hard to replace Watson’s veteran presence in the locker room and at practice, but there are a lot of talented tight ends in the league that would love to play in New Orleans. There’s also the NFL Draft. Also noteworthy, Hoomanawanui is only 27 years old. Maybe the Saints see some deeper potential in him, or Josh Hill (another free agent), moving forward as well. General Manager Mickey Loomis let some good players leave New Orleans before (Michael Jenkins, Roman Harper, Darren Sproles), and his free agent acquisitions (Jairus Byrd, Brandon Browner, CJ Spiller) left a lot to be desired. We’ll see how he handles losing Watson.

It’s been a rough ride the past two years, Who Dat Nation. Here’s to hoping 2016 is a lot better. At the very least, we get to hear announcers try to pronounce Hoomanawanui for three more years.

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