After a year away from the sport and with his broadcast career seemingly suffering a setback, Drew Brees teased a potential NFL return on Sunday.

Future Hall of Famer Brees posted on Twitter that he was "undecided" on his future amid reports of his time as an analyst for NBC coming to an end.

He wrote: "Despite speculation from media about my future this fall, I’m currently undecided.

"I may work for NBC, I may play football again, I may focus on business and philanthropy, I may train for the pickleball tour, senior golf tour, coach my kids or all of the above. I'll let you know."

Brees called it a career after the 2020 season - his 15th with the New Orleans Saints - and, while the competitive fire may still burn for an all-time great, the numbers suggest the correct course of action for the 43-year-old would be to stay retired.

Unlike Tom Brady, who swiftly unretired 40 days after announcing his decision to quit in the wake of one of the best seasons of his storied career, Brees endured one of his most underwhelming campaigns in 2020.

Brees remained extremely accurate, completing 70.5 per cent of his passes and delivering an accurate, well-thrown ball on 81.1 per cent of pass attempts.

However, he averaged only 6.41 air yards per attempt, the fourth-fewest among quarterbacks to attempt at least 50 passes.

His 31 completions of 20 yards or more were fewer than that of then-San Francisco 49ers backup Nick Mullens (33). Brees attempted just 21 passes of 21 air yards or more, illustrating an inability to push the ball downfield as his arm strength faded in the final years of his career.

Were Brees to make a comeback, he may not be able to do so with the Saints, who re-signed Jameis Winston to a two-year deal this offseason.

Saints head coach Dennis Allen said of Brees' tweet about a possible comeback: "I think it was a comment made in jest, and we certainly haven't had any conversations in that regard."

Given the age and the numbers from his most recent season, talk of a Brees return is indeed tough to take seriously.

After being released by the Cleveland Browns, wide receiver Jarvis Landry has signed with the New Orleans Saints.

Landry, 29, has the third-most receptions and fourth-most targets in the entire NFL since his arrival in 2014.

Drafted in the same year as arguably the best receiver in the league, Davante Adams, Landry has 19 more catches (688 to 669) and 33 more targets (1,045 to 1,012) in just seven more career games (123 to 116).

The five-time Pro Bowler has spent the past four seasons with the Browns after playing his first four years with the Miami Dolphins, but his production tailed off badly in 2021, posting career-lows in games played, targets, receptions, yards and touchdowns as the Browns sputtered.

Landry joins a receiver group in New Orleans consisting of new first-round draft pick Chris Olave, and 2019 Offensive Player of the Year Michael Thomas, who missed the entire 2021 season with a serious ankle injury but is expected to be back in action at the start of the 2022 campaign.

The Saints also boast one of the best running backs in the NFL in the form of Alvin Kamara, and with quarterback Jameis Winston returning from a torn ACL, new head coach Dennis Allen may have the makings of a well above average offense.

It is a homecoming for Landry, who grew up in Louisiana and attended Louisiana State University.

The Green Bay Packers' first regular-season game outside of the United States will see them face the New York Giants.

It was confirmed in February that reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers and Co. would play in London for the first time.

That game will take place at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on October 9, with the Packers taking on a historic NFC foe in Week 5.

The Giants won the inaugural London game at Wembley in 2007, defeating the Miami Dolphins, and beat the Los Angeles Rams at Twickenham in 2016.

Tottenham will also play host to a clash between the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints on October 2.

Both the Vikings and Saints have played and won twice in London, New Orleans shutting out the Miami Dolphins on their last appearance in 2017.

The sole Wembley game will see new Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson face Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville Jaguars at England's national stadium on October 30.

The New Orleans Saints have agreed a deal to sign All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu.

According to a report by ESPN's Adam Schefter, three-time first-team All-Pro has reached an agreement on a three-year, $33million deal with the Saints.

The deal, which still needs to be signed, includes $18m in guaranteed money.

New Orleans-born Mathieu returns home after a three-season spell with the Kansas City Chiefs that saw him play in two Super Bowls.

The Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 in Super Bowl LIV before losing 31-9 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV.

Mathieu made 13 interceptions over the past three seasons, tied second among all safeties in that span.

His 27 pass breakups put him tied seventh over the same period and Mathieu will hope to have the same impact for his hometown team, who are looking to bounce back under new head coach Dennis Allen after missing the playoffs in 2021 with a 9-8 record.

 

 

 

Perhaps the biggest storyline entering the 2022 NFL Draft did not concern a prospect, but one of the premier wide receivers in the NFL. Deebo Samuel of the San Francisco 49ers was not traded during Thursday's first round but, if there were any doubts that wideout is now a premium position, they were extinguished emphatically in Las Vegas.

Six wide receivers came off the board in the first 18 picks amid a flurry of trades, including two involving established receivers who at least have one 1,000-yard season in their first three years in the NFL.

There was mild surprise when the Atlanta Falcons made USC's Drake London the first receiver picked with the eighth overall selection, but significantly more eyebrow-raising moves were to follow.

The New Orleans Saints jumped from 16 to 11 to pick Ohio State's Chris Olave one pick after his former college team-mate Garrett Wilson was taken by the Jets with a 10th pick that was reportedly offered to the Niners as part of a package for Samuel.

It was the Detroit Lions who made the most ambitious receiver trade of the night, jumping 20 spots up the board from 32 to 12 in a deal with the Minnesota Vikings to make Jameson Williams their second selection of the first round despite doubts over when he will be ready to play after tearing his ACL in the final game of his college career.

Williams' appeal is obvious, the former Alabama star a dynamic speedster who registered a burn, which is when a receiver wins his matchup with a defender on a play where he is targeted, on 74.6 per cent of his targets in 2021.

He led all receivers in burn yards per target, his average of 19.34 nearly five full yards better than that of his nearest challenger, Cincinnati's Alec Pierce (14.74), and was also the cream of the crop in burn yards per route (4.9).

But it is the scale of the move up the board that is illustrative of just how determined NFL teams have become to add big-play receivers to their offensive arsenal, and the message was further hammered home as, after the Washington Commanders used the 16th pick on another wideout in Jahan Dotson, the Philadelphia Eagles made the defining move of the first round with their trade with the Tennessee Titans, sending the 18th pick and a third-rounder to acquire A.J. Brown.

Brown, a Pro Bowler in 2020 before injuries disrupted his 2021 campaign, was promptly reported as having received a four-year extension with Philadelphia worth up to $100million, with $47m guaranteed, the $25million average annual value of that deal reportedly what Samuel was looking to be paid before he requested a trade from San Francisco.

The choice for teams wanting to keep a playmaking receiver on the roster seems to be clear. Pay over $20m a year for one or spend a premium pick on a rookie. The Titans, in trading Brown and then selecting a rookie with a comparable playing style in Treylon Burks out of Arkansas, elected to do the latter.

"We got to a spot where it was going to be hard to get a deal done," Titans general manager Jon Robinson said of Brown after the first round.

The Ravens ran into difficulty with his namesake Marquise Brown, who was said to have requested a trade after the season and was also dealt on draft night to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for the 23rd overall pick.

While the Titans caved in and parted with Brown, the Niners remained steadfast in refusing to trade Samuel, even with a top-10 pick seemingly on the table, their resoluteness in itself reflecting the massive value of a player who was the heart and soul of the San Francisco offense as the 49ers made the NFC Championship Game last season.

Also running the ball out of the backfield consistently in a dual role, Samuel labelling himself a 'wide back', the 2019 second-round pick is a unique case. Yet the message that was definitively reiterated through the Niners refusal to part ways with him and the hive of activity surrounding receivers in the first round is clear, receivers who can make field-flipping momentum-changing plays are firmly among the most valued assets in the NFL.

Of the top 10 receivers with the most receptions of 20 yards or more in 2021, only two – Justin Jefferson and Tyler Lockett – did not feature on playoff teams. Four – Cooper Kupp (30), Samuel (23), Ja'Marr Chase (22) and Tee Higgins (17) – played on Conference Championship Sunday, as did the 11th-placed wideout in the category, Samuel's Niners team-mate Brandon Aiyuk (16).

Quarterback is king in the NFL, and tackle, edge rusher and offensive tackle have long since been viewed as next on the hierarchy as 'premium positions'. The 2021 season encapsulated the value of explosive wideouts and, with that campaign followed by an offseason in which Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill were both traded and received mega-deals and Thursday's first-round chaos brought on by the high demand for receivers, there can be little room for argument the position now carries the same importance as those other non-quarterback spots that have traditionally had the highest billing.

The New Orleans Saints traded up to 11 in order to select wide receiver Chris Olave.

To make it happen, the Saints traded picks 16, 98 and 120 to the Washington Commanders.

Olave, 21, was the third receiver off the board after USC's Drake London went at eight, and Olave's Ohio State teammate Garrett Wilson was selected by the New York Jets at 10.

The shifty route-runner clocked in with a lightning-quick 4.39 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, and had two seasons with the Buckeyes where he had at least 12 touchdowns, with 13 touchdowns, 65 catches and 936 yards in 2021.

New Orleans will pick again at selection 19.

The New Orleans Saints have finalized a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles to acquire an extra first-round pick in this year's NFL Draft.

The deal sees the Saints acquiring picks 16 and 19 overall from the Eagles, as well as a sixth-round pick, and in return, the Eagles received pick 18, a third-rounder and a seventh-rounder in this year's draft.

Philadelphia will also receive the Saints' first-round pick in 2023, and their second-round pick in 2024.

Consensus around the trade is that it was a 'win-win', as the Saints will be able to add an immediate injection of quality young talent into an ageing roster, while the Eagles added another premium pick in next year's draft, which features a far superior quarterback class.

Philadelphia had three first-round picks before the trade, and will still enter the draft with three of the first 51 selections (15, 18 and 51), while New Orleans has three of the first 49 (16, 19 and 49).

Veteran quarterback Andy Dalton has signed for the New Orleans Saints.

The 34-year-old had been a free agent after leaving the Chicago Bears at the end of the 2021 season and is expected to serve as back-up to Jameis Winston.

New Saints head coach Dennis Allen confirmed his team now primarily plans to use versatile QB Taysom Hill – who has previously competed with Winston for the starting job – as a tight end going forward.

"I think the role for Taysom really is going to be a lot more of the kind of F tight end, move tight end type of role -  that's the direction that we need to move with him, because I think he can be one of the better players in the league in that role," Allen said.

"If Jameis is out there playing quarterback, I don't really like having Taysom next to me on the sideline. So I think you'll see him more in that type of role."

The Saints had been in the race to sign Deshaun Watson before he opted instead for the Cleveland Browns, leading New Orleans back to re-signing Winston to a two-year deal after his contract expired at the end of last season.

Reports indicate the deal for Winston is worth a base value of $28million, of which $21m is guaranteed.

Although the Saints have not released details of Dalton's deal, reports suggest it is a one-year contract worth up to $6m, with $3m guaranteed.

Dalton has spent the majority of his career with the Cincinnati Bengals, who drafted him in 2011 and where he played for nine seasons before moving to the Dallas Cowboys in 2020.

He led Cincinnati to the playoffs in each of his first five seasons and is the Bengals' all-time leader in passer rating (87.5), 300-yard passing games (28), winning percentage (53.3), completions (2,757), touchdowns (204) and touchdown-to-interception ratio (1.73).

Dalton made just six starts for the Bears in 2021, throwing for a total of 1,515 yards and passing for eight touchdowns. However, it was the worst season of his career for interception percentage (3.8).

The New Orleans Saints have struck a deal with Tre'Quan Smith to keep the wide receiver with the team.

Smith has signed a two-year deal worth $6million, potentially rising above $10m with incentives, according to NFL Network.

Despite making a number of roster moves to ensure they could get under the salary cap and hiring a new head coach, the Saints' offense will ultimately have a similar look to 2021 when it takes to the field this year.

Jameis Winston has returned at quarterback with Smith again joining Michael Thomas and Marquez Callaway to make up the receiving corps.

Smith, 26, has been with the Saints since they picked him in the third round in 2018.

He has caught 17 touchdown passes in that time, though last year's total of three was a career-low, as was his yards per reception mark of 11.8, which compares to 15.3 in his rookie year.

Former defensive coordinator Dennis Allen has been promoted to head coach with the Saints, replacing Sean Payton after his successful 15-year run in the job.

Jameis Winston has re-signed with the New Orleans Saints on a two-year deal, according to reports.

The Saints had been in the race to sign Deshaun Watson before he opted instead for the Cleveland Browns, leading New Orleans back to Winston, whose contract expired at the end of last season.

Reports suggest the player has signed a two-year deal with a base value of $28million, of which $21m is guaranteed.

The 28-year-old quarterback was the first overall draft pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2015, but he left in 2020 when the team brought in Tom Brady, landing in New Orleans as back-up to Drew Brees.

Winston played four games in relief of Brees, before being named the starting QB over Taysom Hill after Brees' retirement in March 2021.

He played seven times for the Saints last season, throwing for 1,170 yards from 161 attempts, including 14 touchdown passes and just three interceptions.

Winston looked to be in for a far more consistent season than in his final year as a starter in Tampa, which saw him become the first player in NFL history to throw 30 TD passes and 30 picks in the same campaign.

But Winston, who started 2021 by throwing five TD passes in a crushing Week 1 defeat of the Green Bay Packers, saw his campaign ended early by an ACL tear in the Week 8 win over the Bucs.

The Green Bay Packers are set for their first ever game outside the United States after the NFL announced its international schedule for 2022.

The Packers, who become the 32nd and final NFL team to head abroad, will play in London, as will the New Orleans Saints and Jacksonville Jaguars.

Elsewhere, the first Germany game will be hosted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Munich, while the Arizona Cardinals go to Mexico City.

"We are very excited to be staging five games outside the United States in 2022, and thank the owners for their continued commitment to growing the sport internationally," NFL executive vice president of club business and league events Peter O'Reilly said.

"Our fans in Germany, Mexico and the United Kingdom can look forward to seeing some of the most iconic names and biggest stars in the league and enjoying an incredible series of events."

The Packers had previously been reluctant to move games outside of the Green Bay area, but a new ruling agreed last year means every team is required to play abroad at least once every eight years.

That decision was part of the move to a 17-game season, which was implemented in 2021.

Opposing teams, dates and kick-off times for the Packers and the rest will be announced when the full 2022 schedule is confirmed later in the year.

The New Orleans Saints are set to hire defensive coordinator Dennis Allen as their new head coach to replace long-time leader Sean Payton, according to reports.

Payton stepped away from the head coaching role two weeks ago after the Saints missed the NFL playoffs with a 9-8 record.

Allen previously held the head coach role with the Oakland Raiders from 2014 to 2014 but struggled with a 8-28 record.

Former NFL head coaches Brian Flores and Doug Pederson were also interviewed for the role along with Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and their own special teams coordinator, Darren Rizzi.

The Saints have improved drastically in scoring defense since hiring Allen as defensive coordinator in 2015 and are not looking for an overhaul.

"Those eight teams that let go of head coaches, I think their situations are different than ours," Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said prior to the coaching search commencing.

"We had our coach retire with a lot of really good things in place already. That doesn't mean that it can't be improved and built upon. But we don't see it as a wholesale culture change, roster change, anything like that."

Sean Payton called it a day as head coach of the New Orleans Saints on Tuesday, bidding the NFL franchise an emotional farewell after 15 seasons in charge of the team.

Payton said he had met with team president Dennis Lauscha, owner Gayle Benson and general manager Mickey Loomis to tell them he had decided to go.

"I don't know what's next and it kind of feels good," said Payton in a news conference.

The 58-year-old Payton joined the Saints in 2006 and, in tandem with newly acquired quarterback Drew Brees, began to turn the team into a formidable force, peaking with a Super Bowl XLIV triumph in the 2009 season. Payton's team beat the Indianapolis Colts 31-17 in the NFL showpiece game.

Payton was close to tears as he explained why it was now time to move on. But he had prepared for that eventuality.

"The last thing I did before I went to bed was I Google-searched how not to cry during a speech," Payton said, "and one of the items was drink water and yawn. Well I didn't want to yawn, but it worked a little bit."

He said stepping down had been in his thoughts for some time, and Payton was not minded to go back on his decision.

"Last week I had a great visit, a tough visit with Mickey Loomis and Mrs Benson, and Denis Lauscha, relative to just looking ahead with what I want to do," Payton said.

"Mickey and I are of course now 16 years [with New Orleans] so that was challenging, because of our friendship more than our professional relationship, and then Mrs B was awesome. I love this about her, she said, 'Well go away for two or three months and come back for training camp, and we'll be ready to go'. And I thought that sounded pretty good, actually.

"But I'm glad she told me to spend some time away and give this some thought, because this is a big decision, and it certainly affects a lot of people.

"It's not often you as a coach have the opportunity to possibly leave. We coach, we coach, we coach, and at some point they tell you to leave.

"And as difficult as being fired is, it sure seems easier to thank everyone and move on your merry way."

Payton thanked the "amazing" New Orleans support and recalled having taken charge while the city was still recovering from the damage caused in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina.

Payton will be moving on after a 2021 campaign in which the Saints failed to reach the postseason, finishing with a 9-8 record.

It still marked another fine coaching performance from Payton, who had his team evacuated early in the year due to a hurricane and later had to deal with a number of coronavirus and injury absences.

Brees retired last year, and Payton decided it was time to follow suit.

"He and I never discussed when his last game would be, or when I'd be finished. I just felt like this season it was challenging for everyone, but man I felt like it was time," Payton said, explaining the timing of his departure.

"I knew maybe heading into training camp, but you don't share that with anyone. It's something I've been thinking about. You have close friends in the industry, and I've lost close friends in the industry in the last few years.

"Not many get to choose their terms, and I looked on it as an opportunity to see my kids more, to travel more, to get in better shape.

"I think the attention to details are so important, it can be so exhausting. I felt as this season was winding down it was the right thing."

Payton's career with New Orleans included an NFL suspension for the entire 2012 season after the Saints' 'Bountygate' scandal blew up, with players said to have been rewarded by fellow team members for injuring and knocking opponents out of games.

He returned to lead the team with distinction again, albeit unable to secure a return to the Super Bowl.

From 2017 to 2020, New Orleans achieved regular-season performances of 11-5, 13-3, 13-3 and 12-4, finishing top of the NFC South on each occasion. This season they wound up as runners-up to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Payton, who was under contract through 2024, has a 152-89 regular-season record – the 13th-best of all time (minimum 100 games) – while he is 9-8 in the playoffs.

Sean Payton is stepping down as head coach of the New Orleans Saints after 15 seasons in charge, reports said on Tuesday.

The franchise called a news conference for 15:00 local time (21:00 BST) at which Payton's departure was expected to be confirmed.

Payton will be moving on after a 2021 campaign in which the Saints failed to reach the postseason, finishing with a 9-8 record.

The 58-year-old Payton joined the Saints in 2006 and, in tandem with newly acquired quarterback Drew Brees, began to turn the team into a formidable force, peaking with a Super Bowl XLIV triumph in the 2009 season. Payton's team beat the Indianapolis Colts 31-17 in the NFL showpiece game.

Payton was suspended for the entire 2012 season after the Saints' 'Bountygate' scandal blew up, with players said to have been rewarded by fellow team members for injuring and knocking opponents out of games.

He returned to lead the team with distinction again, albeit unable to secure a return to the Super Bowl.

From 2017 to 2020, New Orleans achieved regular-season performances of 11-5, 13-3, 13-3 and 12-4, finishing top of the NFC South on each occasion.

Payton, who was under contract through 2024, has a 152-89 regular-season record – the 13th-best of all time (minimum 100 games) – while he is 9-8 in the playoffs.

Sean Payton is yet to confirm to the New Orleans Saints whether he will remain as head coach for the 2022 season. 

Payton has been at the helm in New Orleans since 2006, but reports in recent days have suggested he is far from certain to return next year. 

In their first season since Drew Brees' retirement, the Saints marginally missed the playoffs with a 9-8 record. 

It still marked another fine coaching performance from Payton, who had his team evacuated early in the year due to a hurricane and later had to deal with a number of coronavirus and injury absences. 

Jameis Winston, promoted to a starting role at quarterback in Brees' place, tore his ACL in October following a promising 5-2 start in which he threw 14 touchdown passes and only three interceptions. 

Payton, who is under contract through 2024, has a 152-89 regular-season record – the 13th-best of all time (minimum 100 games) – while he is 9-8 in the playoffs, winning Super Bowl XLIV. 

The Saints hope he will further improve those totals next season, although owner Gayle Benson knows little more than New Orleans fans at this stage. 

"We don't know," she told FOX 8 NOLA on Monday. "You know, who knows? We'll find out soon enough, I guess. 

"I don't think any of us know. But he'll let us know soon enough." 

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