The Saints exercised the fifth-year option on Kenny Vaccaro’s rookie deal.
By picking up the option, he will remain with the Saints through the 2017 season, multiple sources confirmed to The Advocate on Tuesday. The option will pay the safety $5.6 million in the final year of the deal.
Vaccaro is the first member of the 2013 draft class to have his option picked up. The deadline to do so is May 3.
A former first-round pick, Vaccaro has become a core member of New Orleans’ young defense. Appearing in all 16 games last season, he finished with 104 tackles, three sacks and forced a fumble.
After losing Rafael Bush this offseason, the Saints could be in the market to add additional depth at safety. However, it’s expected that Vaccaro and Jairus Byrd will remain the starters.
Smith memorial set
The Saints will hold a public visitation to celebrate the life of former defensive end Will Smith from 2 p.m.-7 p.m. Friday at the team’s practice facility in Metairie.
No ceremony or funeral service elements will be held. Guests will walk through the Saints’ indoor practice facility and be able to view the casket, and a celebration of Smith’s life will be presented through photographs and video. Those who attend will also have the opportunity to sign a guest book. Prayer cards will be available and fans can make donations to Smith’s foundation, Where There’s a Will There’s a Way.
A private family burial and funeral service will be held Saturday.
Smith, who was shot and killed late Saturday night after a traffic accident in New Orleans’ Lower Garden District, was a team captain on the Saints’ Super Bowl team in 2009 and played every one of his 139 games in the NFL in New Orleans.
New Orleans will induct Smith into the Saints Hall of Fame this year, and he planned to be a coaching intern on Sean Payton’s staff in 2016.
Parking for the celebration will be available at both the Saints’ facility and Zephyr Field next door.
Looking at linebackers
The Saints have been taking a closer look at the new breed of linebacker available in the 2016 draft.
Myles Jack, a projected top-10 pick who is rated as the best available linebacker in the draft, revealed on Sirius XM Monday that he’s already worked out privately for New Orleans.
A freak athlete who also played running back at times for UCLA, Jack is coming off of a torn lateral meniscus that ended his 2015 season, but he expects to be fully healthy in 2016.
In his first two full seasons at UCLA, Jack averaged 82.5 tackles and 7.5 tackles-for-loss as the Bruins’ weakside linebacker, and he added four interceptions. UCLA, taking advantage of Jack’s coverage skills, often lined him up man-to-man against slot receivers.
But Jack isn’t the only speedy linebacker the Saints have checked out a little closer. LSU linebacker Deion Jones, who ran 4.39 seconds in the 40-yard dash at LSU’s Pro Day, has also visited New Orleans, a source confirmed to The Advocate.
Jones, whose stock has been on the rise since an impressive week at the Senior Bowl, has either visited or worked out for more than 10 teams already in this draft cycle.
Both Jack and Jones could be the type of coverage linebacker the Saints sorely lacked at the weakside position last year when Dannell Ellerbe was battling injury. New Orleans allowed the most receiving yardage in the league to both tight ends and running backs, as quarterbacks racked up yardage by throwing short and working the middle of the field.
The Saints are one of eight teams that will take a closer look at one of the most interesting prospects in the NFL draft.
Moritz Boehringer, a 6-foot-4, 227-pound wide receiver from Germany, told the Move the Sticks podcast this week that he will visit the Saints next week.
Boehringer, who learned about football by watching Adrian Peterson on YouTube, ran the 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds, posted a 39-inch vertical and posted a time of 6.65 seconds in the three-cone drill, according to NFL.com.
Boehringer has been playing football for five years, and he caught 59 passes for 1,232 yards and 13 touchdowns for the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns of the German Football League last year.