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Why the Saints Should Sign Free-Agent WR Josh Reynolds

Even if New Orleans loses out on the Odell Beckham sweepstakes, there is another free-agent wideout that could upgrade their receiving corps.
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The New Orleans Saints are rumored to be one of the teams in contention to land free-agent WR Odell Beckham Jr. Beckham, an eight-year veteran with five 1,000-yard seasons, was officially released by the Cleveland Browns earlier this week.

It's reported that the 29-year-old wideout has narrowed his options to Green Bay, New England, Kansas City, Seattle, and New Orleans.

The Saints reportedly tried to trade for Beckham before last week's trade deadline. Their wide receivers and tight ends have been underwhelming, to put it politely, during the 2021 season. New Orleans ranks a lowly 31st in passing offense, averaging just 191 yards per game.

The team's wide receivers have accounted for a combined 67 receptions among eight players for an average of just 112 yards/game as a group. Wideouts Deonte Harris (21) and Marquez Callaway (22) are the only wideouts with double-digit catches after eight games.

Harris is a legitimate offensive weapon and Callaway has flashed nice potential, but neither player is a bona fide number one wideout. With All-Pro WR Michael Thomas sidelined for the year, meager contributions at wide receiver and tight end have crippled the offense.

A mind-numbing seven dropped passes were one of the main causes for an upset home loss to Atlanta last Sunday.

There are no options available to upgrade the tight end spot in 2021, so the Saints pursuit of Beckham makes even more sense. If Beckham signs elsewhere, New Orleans could look to bring in another recently released wide receiver.

JOSH REYNOLDS

Los Angeles Rams receiver Josh Reynolds (11) makes a catch in front of Seattle defensive back Jayson Stanley (29). Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Rams receiver Josh Reynolds (11) makes a catch in front of Seattle defensive back Jayson Stanley (29). Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The 26-year-old Reynolds is a 6’3” and 196-Lb. wideout who played five games with the Tennessee Titans this season. After catching 10 of 13 targets for 90 yards, he asked for his release from Tennessee, who host the Saints this Sunday.

Reynolds came into the league as a fourth-round selection by the Los Angeles Rams in the 2017 NFL Draft out of Texas A&M. He caught 164 passes for 2,788 yards and 30 touchdowns in three collegiate seasons.

As a rookie, Reynolds appeared in all 16 contests but saw just 27% of the offensive snaps for the Rams. He caught 11 of 24 targets for 104 yards and a score. Over the next three seasons, he’d emerge as a key complementary weapon for a Los Angeles team with one of the NFL's deepest receiving corps.

Reynolds hauled in 29 receptions for 402 yards and five scores in 2018. He followed that up with 21 catches for 326 yards and a touchdown in 2019. Reynolds had the best year of his career last season, recorded 52 receptions for 618 yards and 2 touchdowns.

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Tennessee signed Reynolds to a free-agent deal this offseason, where he was expected to start alongside Pro Bowl WR A.J. Brown. That expectation changed when the Titans traded for WR Julio Jones this summer.

Reynolds had six catches for 59 yards in a week four loss to the Jets. It was clear that he had become an afterthought in the Tennessee offense, which led to his release. Before this year when he had been inactive for four games, Reynolds had played in every contest.

Now in his fifth season, Reynolds has 123 receptions for 1,540 yards and 12 touchdowns in 69 career games. He’s caught just 57.5% of his targets, but that’s because he was used primarily as a deep threat with the Rams.

Tennessee Titans receiver Josh Reynolds (18) pulls in a catch against Jets cornerback Brandin Echols (26). © George Walker IV / USA TODAY NETWORK

Tennessee Titans receiver Josh Reynolds (18) pulls in a catch against Jets cornerback Brandin Echols (26). © George Walker IV / USA TODAY NETWORK

Despite his slim build, Reynolds has proven to be a reliable target on crossing routes over the middle. He’s an extremely dangerous open field runner and is a combative receiver in traffic.

Josh Reynolds isn't the flashy name that Odell Beckham Jr. is, but would add a valuable big-play threat to the Saints offense. Marquez Callaway and Deonte Harris are capable wideouts, but would be even more productive with the addition of another consistent target. 

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