Well, that didn't take long. Thirty five year old veteran in the twilight of his career exits stage left, and a 27 year old that has yet to max out on his potential slides right in his place. How do I know that Coby Fleener hasn't produced to the level that he's capable of quite yet? Pretty simple. He hasn't been catching passes from Drew Brees. That's not even an exaggeration. You give Sean Payton an above average tight end that can run and catch and he'll turn him into a great tight end. Don't need to do too much research to back that up. Jimmy Graham had 17 total catches in college, and turned in an all-time disappointing season last year for Seattle. All he did in between was get thrown into the discussion as one of the greatest players ever at his position while he was split out wide for the Saints. His replacement Ben Watson? An aging veteran that had never even sniffed 800 receiving yards in a season did that and more by setting career highs for himself in every category. Want to go back further? Mark Campbell, Billy Miller, and Jeremy Shockey all produced in New Orleans and at the time of their arrival none of them had the upside of a Coby Fleener. Sean Payton finds ways to get agile tight ends open, and Drew Brees finds ways to get them the ball. It's really as simple as that.
Now, do I like the contract? Not particularly. Seems like a bit much for someone that's benefiting from the situation as much as the situation is benefiting from him, but hey, that's why I'm not a General Manager. It's not my money, but if the way it's being spent means the Saints will be able to continue their dominance on the offensive side of the ball then I am all for it. Let's just hope there is still some left to shore up a defense that needs a lot more help than the production of one promising tight end to consider any lead safe.