WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. — The Saints have signed free-agent tight end Travis Beckum to a one-year contract, a league source told The Advocate on Wednesday.
Beckum entered the NFL as a third-round draft choice out of Wisconsin by the New York Giants in 2009. He spent his first four years in the league with the Giants, catching 26 passes for 264 yards and three touchdowns in 48 games and four starts.
He helped the Giants win Super Bowl XLVI at the end of the 2011 season but tore an anterior cruciate ligament in the game. He hasn’t played in the NFL since.
Beckum spent the 2012 campaign on the Giants’ physically unable to perform list and was released prior to 2013. He signed with Seattle in February but was released in May.
The 6-foot-3, 234-pound Beckum will occupy a roster space vacated by tight end Richard Quinn, who retired Monday after spending six days in training camp at The Greenbrier resort in West Virginia with the Saints. Saints coach Sean Payton said Quinn retired after realizing he didn’t want to play pro football anymore.
“If you’re heart’s not in it, this job is hard to do,” Payton said Wednesday.
Beckum was wearing No. 81 and was on the practice field Wednesday. Payton said he didn’t know much about Beckum but would evaluate him closely in the coming days. The coach said Beckum likely wouldn’t play in Friday’s exhibition against Tennessee but would evaluate him closely in the coming days.
Scouting reports primarily describe Beckum as better at receiving than blocking. He came into the NFL with 4.62 speed and a reputation of having solid hands as well as the ability to gain yards after catches.
One draft site compared Beckum to former Dolphins, Rams and Chargers tight end Randy McMichael; and another likened him to Owen Daniels, the ex-Texan now with the Ravens.
UPDATE: The Saints announced Beckum’s signing a couple of hours after this report.