The New Orleans Saints waived wide receiver Tim Toone, linebacker Eric Martin and safety Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, and they placed wide receiver Joe Morgan, linebacker Will Smith and linebacker Chris Chamberlain on injured reserve to trim their roster to 75 players on Tuesday.
The team claimed cornerback Jumal Rolle off waivers from the Buffalo Bills and kept linebacker Victor Butler on the physically unable to perform list, keeping the door open for his return after six weeks of the regular season. Coach Sean Payton confirmed the trade to acquire linebacker Parys Haralson from San Francisco, reportedly for a seventh-round draft pick in 2014 if the player makes the team. Haralson is scheduled to take his physical on Tuesday.
Quarterback Drew Brees told reporters after practice Tuesday that losing Smith “was very tough.”
“He’s been a mainstay ever since I have been here,” Brees said. “You hate to see a guy like that go down. I know his leadership is still going to be there. He is very influential with the young guys that we have up front and he is still going to be a part of this team.”
Here's some more information about the transactions:
Toone, in his third year after being the last pick in the 2010 draft, had one catch for 17 yards on Aug. 9 against Kansas City in the 17 snaps he played. He had eight snaps against Oakland on Aug. 16 but didn't play against Houston on Sunday.
Owusu-Ansah, in his fourth year in the NFL, had no tackles in the first three exhibition games. He saw five snaps on special teams against the Chiefs; seven snaps on defense and six snaps on special teams against Oakland; and one snap against Houston on special teams.
Martin, an undrafted rookie, appeared in seven snaps on defense against Kansas City and four snaps on special teams. He didn't play a snap against Oakland or Houston. He had opened eyes at the intrasquad scrimmage on Aug. 3 by getting a sack and forcing a fumble from running back Mark Ingram that was recovered by the defense.
Chamberlain, in his sixth-year in the league, had one tackle against Kansas City in 12 snaps on defense and 16 snaps on special teams. He didn't play a snap against Oakland and missed the game against Houston. Payton said Chamberlain had been excused for a personal reason without elaborating and was going to return Monday. The coach didn’t discuss the nature of Chamberlain’s injury. Chamberlain spent last year on the Saints’ IR after he tore an anterior cruciate ligament in the preseason.
Morgan, who spent his entire rookie year in 2011 on the Saints’ IR with a knee injury, tore a mensicus and partially tore an ACL at the intrasquad scrimmage. He had 10 catches for 379 yards in 2012 for New Orleans.
Smith, in his 10th season with New Orleans, sustained a season-ending knee injury in the second quarter against the Houston Texans on Sunday on a play in which Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan sacked quarterback Matt Schaub. Smith was entangled with other players, was twisted to the ground and was taken to the locker room after being examined on the sideline. He was projected to start at outside linebacker. The 67.5 sacks he’s gotten for the Saints is fourth-best in team history.
Butler tore an ACL at organized training activities in June. He was penciled in to start at outside linebacker. The favorites to replace Butler and Smith are Martez Wilson and Junior Galette. Neither Wilson, in his third year with the Saints, or Galette, in his fourth year with the team, have played in a preseason game. Wilson dealt with an elbow injury but returned to practice prior to the Houston game. Galette hadn’t practiced since leaving a session early on Aug. 7 with an unspecified leg problem. Galette stretched on Tuesday while wearing shoulder pads.
The Saints moved for Haralson so he could compete for playing time at outside linebacker. Haralson was selected out of Tennessee by the 49ers in the sixth round of the 2006 draft. He had a career-high eight sacks in 2008 but had just 11 total from 2009 to 2011. He did not play last season after he tore a triceps tendon in an exhibition game. Coach Jim Harbaugh replaced him at right outside linebacker with Aldon Smith, who set a franchise record with 19 1/2 sacks.
Payton said the Saints sought Haralson because of some of his accomplishments in San Francisco, which employs a 3-4 scheme that is similar to the one the team is implementing under new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.
“He’s strong at the point of attack,” Payton said. “He’s experienced in this system ... and has had success in a really good defense.”
Rolle is an undrafted rookie out of Catawba College. With the Bills, he returned an interception for a touchdown in a 44-20 exhibition win against the Indianapolis Colts on Aug. 11. In his senior season, the 5-foot-11, 188-pound Rolle picked off six passes; broke up 10 others; forced a fumble; recovered two fumbles; made 56 tackles and blocked four kicks.
The league-mandated deadline to reduce rosters to 75 players was Tuesday. NFL teams have until Saturday to turn in their 53-man roster. The Advocate will have much more from Saints camp later at www.theadvocate.com and in Wednesday's edition of the newspaper.