The former Chicago Bears standout was hoping to finally return from a major 2017 knee injury, but the Saints apparently didn’t see enough to believe that a comeback would be possible.
It’s unclear if Meredith suffered an injury setback, but he was spotted jogging off the field early on Sunday and later posted on Instagram, “It’s been fun.”
His release was first reported by NOLA.com.
The Saints won’t save much cash or salary-cap space by releasing Meredith, who had already agreed to a pay cut of $2.1 million to stay with the team in March. He was due to receive $1.3 million in base salary, with $500,000 fully guaranteed.
Meredith, 26, originally signed a two-year, $9.5 million deal with the Saints as a restricted free agent in 2018, and the Bears decided not to match their offer.
The Bears’ decision raised eyebrows at the time, since Meredith had 66 catches for 888 yards and four touchdowns with Chicago in 2016. But Bears general manager Ryan Pace explained that the input from Chicago’s medical and training staff led to the team’s decision after Meredith tore his ACL and other ligaments during the 2017 preseason.
Unfortunately for both Meredith and the Saints, the Bears’ outlook proved to be prescient.
Meredith wound up playing in just six games with the Saints last season, catching nine passes for 114 yards and one touchdown last year, before he was placed on injured reserve because of nagging swelling and soreness in the knee.
Meredith also did not participate in OTAs and minicamp this summer, telling ESPN he was hoping to be cautious so he could be fully healthy for training camp and a full 16-game season.
The Saints’ wide receiver depth is still unproven behind projected starters Michael Thomas and Ted Ginn Jr.. They do have a number of intriguing candidates for the remaining roster spots, including Tre’Quan Smith, Keith Kirkwood, Simmie Cobbs Jr., Austin Carr, recently signed veteran Rishard Matthews and undrafted rookie Emmanuel Butler, who has been the breakout star in the first few days of training camp.
Butler, a 6-foot-4, 220-pounder from Northern Arizona, seems to make one or two standout catches every day in practice and has drawn consistent praise from coaches.
The Saints filled Meredith’s roster spot by signing veteran offensive lineman Patrick Omameh.