The New Orleans Saints will not have star wide receiver Michael Thomas for the start of the 2021 season after he underwent surgery last month to repair ligaments in his ankle and was placed on the physically unable to perform list on Monday. With Thomas expected to miss the first six weeks of the season, it was no surprise the Saints would take a look in free agency to try to make up for some of his lost production. The Saints reportedly worked out several wide receivers on Sunday, and found one they liked.
On Monday, Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network reported that the Saints are signing veteran slot receiver Chris Hogan after being impressed with his workout. The 33-year-old has stayed in shape, and most recently spent time in the Premier Lacrosse League. He started his career this past year as an undrafted rookie for Cannons Lacrosse Club and was traded to Whipsnakes Lacrosse Club in the middle of the season. Now, he's returning to football.
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Hogan has bounced around the NFL a bit, but will be best remembered for his three seasons with the New England Patriots. Arguably his best campaign came in 2016, when he caught 38 passes for 680 yards and four touchdowns while averaging an impressive 17.9 yards per reception. Hogan won Super Bowls LI and LIII with the Patriots, and caught six passes for 128 yards and one touchdown in the Super Bowl LII loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. He played five games for the New York Jets in 2020, and caught 14 passes for 118 yards.
The Saints are hoping that players like Marquez Callaway, Tre'Quan Smith and Deonte Harris can step up for either Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill with Thomas out, but adding a veteran like Hogan should help in preparing for this new era of football without Drew Brees.