Quietly, the New Orleans Saints signed veteran wide receiver Jake Kumerow after the Buffalo Bills placed him on waivers this weekend. Some Who Dats have been clamoring for the team to sign former Saints wideout Kenny Stills. However, with Stills, it may be too much water under the bridge to return to the Big Easy. Claiming him off of waivers could be a late-season significant move for New Orleans.
In two seasons with Green Bay, 2018-2019, Kumerow developed a good rapport with Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. He started 6 games, targeted 32 times, 20 receptions for 322 yards, and 2 touchdowns. The 6-4 and long receiver made progress in training camp, but Green Bay released him to make room for young talent in the Packers receiving corps. He joined the Bills in 2020 and saw action in six games. He caught only one pass for 22 yards, which resulted in 1 touchdown.
Rodgers thought highly of Kumerow. Clutch Points reporter Joseph Cervantes wrote on Aaron Rodgers' comments before the Packers' roster cuts this season:
“Jake Kumerow has been such a solid performer for us for the last couple of years. I love his reliability,” Rodgers said. “I think he’s a fantastic, steady player, who’s very heady on the field. He makes plays, he plays with a lot of coincidence, and he’s a guy who you love having on the squad.”
This afternoon, I asked Sean Payton why the Saints decided to claim Kumerow off of waivers. Coach responded, "Well, we see an experienced player, got good size, versatility, someone who's played a kicking game. He's someone that we feel like could come in and quickly learn what we're wanting to do at receiver. He's got a good catching radius. And, I think that's a real good start for us with a player like him."
Kumerow has seen time as an undrafted free agent and practice squad player with the Cincinnati Bengals (2015-2017), New England Patriots (2017), and Green Bay Packers (2017-2020), and Buffalo Bills (2020). As a player, he has similar receiving qualities to former Green Bay Packer Jordy Nelson.
Kumerow's collegiate career with the University of Illinois and Wisconsin-Whitewater (Division III) was successful. In 2014, he was named as Division III National Offensive Player of the Year and voted to the first-team Division III All-America roster. According to Wisconsin-Whitewater's website, Kumerow was "selected as a 2014 captain … finished career as the program’s all-time leader in receiving touchdowns (36) … ranked second in career receiving yards (2,648) and third in receptions (158) … concluded 2014 with the ninth-most receiving yards (1,116), receptions (66) and tied for the fifth-most touchdowns (14) in one season … led WIAC and finished ninth in the nation in receiving touchdowns … ranked 21st in NCAA Division III in receiving yards … scored at least one receiving touchdown in each of his last 10 games … averaged 16.9 yards per reception."
Can Kumerow be useful in a Sean Payton offense? Definitely. Assistant GM Terry Fontenot's pro scouting department must have kept an eye on Kumerow, and the team grabbed him once available for New Orleans - and at the right time. #1 receiver Michael Thomas will return in the playoffs, but Deonte Harris' injury could extend further than anticipated. Juwan Johnson and Austin Carr have seen several elevations from the practice squad. Still, neither has had a tremendous impact in the passing game like rookie Marquez Callaway has done this season. Emmanuel Sanders is set as the team's #2 receiver with recent significant contributions and "big-time" catches.
If you caught this quote from Payton, he's "someone who's played a kicking game." Outside meaning, we could expect playing time in the kicking/punt return game this Sunday in Carolina. Doing so will save Callaway from possible injury and test Kumerow's capabilities before the playoffs commence.