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Report: Saints to Sign TE Chris Herndon

New Orleans adds competition to their tight end position, hoping to upgrade an area that struggled in 2021.
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NFL Network's Ian Rapoport first reported on Tuesday that the New Orleans Saints are expected to sign TE Chris Herndon. The 26-year-old Herndon played last year with the Minnesota Vikings, catching four passes for 40 yards in 16 games of action.

A fourth-round selection by the New York Jets in the 2018 NFL Draft, Herndon played collegiately at Miami, Fl. He had 86 receptions for 1,048 yards and 7 touchdowns in three seasons with the Hurricanes.

Herndon earned a spot on the 2018 All-Rookie Team by catching 39 passes for 502 yards and four scores as a rookie with the Jets.

A season-ending injury limited Herndon to just one game in 2019. He rebounded to catch 31 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns in 2020.

A trade to Minnesota last offseason gave Herndon the chance to replace injured Vikings TE Irv Smith Jr. However, he'd appear in just 17% of Minnesota's offensive snaps before hitting free agency this offseason.

At 6’4” and 253-Lbs., Herndon has prototype size for the position. He’s a wonderful athlete after the catch and presents an athletic mismatch for many defenders. Herndon has never developed as a blocker or an intricate route runner, but has the raw traits to be a bona fide weapon.

Dec 27, 2020; New York Jets tight end Chris Herndon (89) after a catch against the Cleveland Browns. © Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Dec 27, 2020; New York Jets tight end Chris Herndon (89) after a catch against the Cleveland Browns. © Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via Imagn Content Services, LLC

New Orleans ranked last in the NFL in passing production last season.  A normally productive offense ranked 28th in total yardage and struggled to provide consistent receiving targets for their quarterbacks.

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Nineteen NFL tight ends had better individual production than the Saints combined trio of Adam Trautman, Juwan Johnson, and Nick Vannett in 2021. Trautman has had a strong start to training camp and undrafted rookie Lucas Krull has turned heads with some athleticism as a receiver. Taysom Hill, converted to tight end this offseason, has potential but has missed some time with a rib injury. 

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