Tight end Jeremy Shockey had a pretty good run with the New York Giants and seemed to settle in nicely with the New Orleans Saints the past three seasons. That’s why the news the Saints are cutting him came as a bit of a surprise.
“It’s a business, I understand,” Shockey told ESPN. “I’ll just go play hard for someone else. Whoever gets me, it’s going to be a steal.”
There are several reasons that Shockey, who will turn 31 years old next season, was let go. First, he was going to make $4.7 million next season. That’s a lot for a tight end whose numbers have declined each of the past four seasons and who had essentially become a blocker.
Second, rookie Jimmy Graham was an effective contributor to the team, totaling 31 catches for 356 yards and five touchdowns. And he’s cheaper, too.
Third, teams are reluctant to shell out big dollars for players who are hurt too much. Shockey started just 34 games in three seasons with the Saints, although he had 48 catches and three TDs in their Super Bowl-winning season.
“Jeremy played an important role in helping our team bring a Super Bowl championship to New Orleans,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “He contributed to the success of our offense, both as a pass-catcher and run blocker, and we're appreciative of his efforts.”
Shockey won’t have much trouble getting into another team’s camp, but he’ll have to be content with an incentive-laden contract.