The AFC North was a popular division for teams seeking out help for the wide receiver position this offseason. Minus the Cincinnati Bengals, perhaps, who have invested heavily in this area over the past two years, every team in the division at least had it high on their wish list—even if some more than others failed to actually get what they wished for.
While the Cleveland Browns parted ways with veteran wide receiver Jarvis Landry, there was reportedly mutual interest in a return. Landry, for his own part, made it pretty clear at the end of last season that he considered the ball in Cleveland’s court.
The Baltimore Ravens, who waived Miles Boykin and then traded Marquise Brown, wanted to draft Calvin Austin III in the fourth round just after the Pittsburgh Steelers (who also added Boykin off waivers) took him. They have acknowledged that they are on the lookout for veteran wide receiver help now, and Landry was one name they were connected to.
But he won’t be in the AFC North this year, in any city. He recently reached an agreement to ‘return home’, signing with the New Orleans Saints, who also recently added Tyrann Mathieu at safety, both of whom are LSU alumni.
While the signing is not yet official—that will likely come on Monday—Landry himself acknowledged the impending deal, posting a message on social media to his followers acknowledging ‘Who Dat Nation’, referencing the Saints fanbase.
New Orleans is attempting to revamp its passing game after finishing last in passing yardage a year ago in the aftermath of Drew Brees’ retirement. With Michael Thomas unavailable all season, they were shorthanded in this area. Jameis Winston, who took over at quarterback, also got hurt.
Before adding Landry, the Saints used one of their first-round draft picks to draft a wide receiver, Chris Olave, who figures to be a day-one starter. With Thomas returning and joining Landry, they now have their top three, none of whom played for them lats season (even if Thomas was under contract).
Landry was drafted in the second round by the Miami Dolphins in 2014. He spent his first four seasons there before the Browns acquired him via trade while under the franchise tag. During his four seasons in Cleveland, he recorded 288 catches for 3,560 yards and 15 touchdowns in 56 games. He had 400 catches for 4,038 yards and 22 touchdowns in 57 games over four years in Miami.
One wonders if Landry returning to New Orleans could help lure Odell Beckham Jr. there, as well. Beckham, who is recovering from a torn ACL suffered in the Super Bowl, is very close friends with Landry from their LSU days, and they spent the past few years together in Cleveland as well. They would have to get creative with the contract, however, to make it work with their available cap space and predictable expenses.