The New Orleans Saints are looking to deal safety Kenny Vaccaro and are reportedly actively shopping him on the market.
According to NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport, the Saints spent the early portion of this week calling other NFL teams and shopping the former first-round safety.
Vaccaro is playing this season under his fifth-year option which is a one-year guaranteed contract worth $5.7 million.
Saints Cut De’Vante Harris
The New Orleans Saints have cut cornerback De’Vante Harris, according to The New Orleans Advocate’s Nick Underhill.
Harris joined the team as an undrafted free agent out of Texas A&M back in 2016 and played in 10 games as a rookie, following that with 11 appearances, including once start, for the Saints in the 2017 season.
Midway through the 2017 season, Harris was relegated to special teams, a reduced role.
Saints Taking High Expectations Head On
New Orleans knows that many expect them to make a big jump in 2018, with the amount of talent they have on the roster, and an improved defense.
Saints head coach is using the high expectations to motivate his team, telling them to “Prove ’em right.”
“It’s a great question, because I think you can go two ways with it, and we’ve been in this position before, and maybe not had the success we had hoped to have when we were picked in 2014 to be one of those teams.” Payton said during an appearance on ESPN.
“We’ve kind of embraced it and looked at it — first as a division, and understanding how competitive the South is right now, with Atlanta, Carolina and Tampa Bay. But at the very first meeting, we talked about, ‘Prove ’em right.’ Oftentimes you hear that saying, ‘Prove ’em wrong,’ when you’re not getting maybe picked to where you think.
“But that means a complete commitment by everyone, when it’s 105 degrees like (the heat index at Sunday’s practice). And that’s challenging. But I do think that leadership, the type of guys we have in the locker room, will be ready for that challenge.”
With young standout players such as Michael Thomas, Marshon Lattimore, and Alvin Kamara, among others, poised to continue their impressive development in 2018, the Saints seem poised for a run at the Super Bowl.
“Well, [there was] similar talk [back in 2014]. And yet, completely different locker room, completely different circumstances,” Saints quarterback Drew Brees said, according to ESPN’s Mike Triplett.
“We felt like we were there and ready to take the next step. And yet, that offseason we lost [some] pretty incredible leaders and highly productive players out of the locker room on both sides of the ball. And it just changed the culture a little bit, and it changed the dynamics a little bit. And looking back on it, we realized that. At the time we felt like, ‘We’re young, we’re talented, guys are ready to step up.’ And unfortunately that just wasn’t the case.
“I’d say the difference this year is we haven’t lost veteran guys, but we’ve actually gone out and acquired some more veteran leadership and guys that are great in the locker room, and we’ve got this young talent that is continuing to develop.
“But it is about making sure that you have the cultural foundation — which we did not have in 2014, but I feel like we have this year. But we have to continue to cultivate it.”
Saints center Max Unger says that the brutal heat is helping to keep the Saints to rein in the high expectations.
“I mean, this is tough, it’s almost 100 degrees out here. This is no joke right now. And I think that is a pretty good way to kind of rein those expectations in, to be honest with you,” Unger said. “It’s funny, because right now we’re at the bottom of the mountain, right? It’s hard to look straight back up there after what we did last year. There is momentum in the sense that we know what we have the capability to do. The hard part is not letting that cloud the work that you have to do in training camp.
“[But] this is the situation that you want to be in. You want the expectations to be high. For an organization and a fan base and a city, the expectation is to win games. We’re having this conversation now — as we should have it every year. We would like to think that this is how you’re supposed to operate as a team, with these expectations in mind.”
Saints’ Drew Brees Says ‘There’s still a lot I want to accomplish’
New Orleans Saints legendary quarterback Drew Brees may be 39 years old, but he doesn’t sound like someone who is thinking about retirement.
As he enters his 18th NFL training camp, Brees remains motivated, fueled, and focused, feeling that he has a lot more to accomplish in his career.
“There’s still a lot of things I want to accomplish,” Brees said, according to ESPN’s Mike Triplett. “And I understand the amount of work and effort it’s gonna take to accomplish those things. And I understand that I don’t have a whole lot of time left.
“So I’m gonna stay in the moment and I’m gonna enjoy every second of it, because I know when it’s over, it’s over. You know, there’s no coming back. And I want to be able to look back and say, ‘Man, I gave it everything I possibly could. I enjoyed every second of it. And now I can move on to the next chapter of my life and be at peace with that.’
“But there’s still a lot of things to accomplish. And I know in order to accomplish those things — and they’re lofty goals — you’ve gotta work. You’ve gotta work and have high expectations and sacrifice and do even more now than maybe I ever have.”
Brees has kept himself busy during the offseason, with family and other venture occupying his time, but insists that he maintains a balance to keep things rolling.
“There’s a balance, there’s a balance,” Brees said. “My family time is a great equalizer for me. I have to be able to leave this facility and be with my family, be with my wife, be with my kids. They help balance me out.
“That enjoyment in my life helps me be a better football player. And it also forces me when I’m here to be as efficient as possible. Because I know, man, my time can’t run over. I can’t just say, ‘Oh, I’ll stay an extra hour.’ No, I have to get my work done by this time so I can get home to read my kids a book before they go to bed, or else I miss that opportunity. And then that eats at me, and then it throws off my balance. So it all works together.”
Brees has stated that he could keep playing at a high level until the age of 45, and there has been no steep decline in his production in recent years.
A more balanced team for 2018 also brings more hope that the Saints can once again reach the promised land with Brees leading the way.
“Those are all good things. Those are all great things,” Brees said. “From game to game, sometimes I think those responsibilities or what you’re being asked to do can be modified a little bit. There’s gonna be games where I throw it 45 times, there’s gonna be games where I probably throw it in the mid-20s. But as long as we’re winning, as long as we’re playing efficient Saints-caliber football, then it doesn’t matter.
“I think we’ve proven that we can win in a lot of ways. … As long as we’re winning, everyone wins.”
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