NFL Nation: Ramon Humber

Saints Camp Report: Day 3

July, 27, 2014
Jul 27
6:18
PM ET
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of New Orleans Saints training camp:
  • The Saints held their first padded practice -- which always has a bit of that Christmas-morning feel for the linemen. Not surprisingly, no one was more exuberant than linebacker Junior Galette, who made several big plays. The first came just two plays into the first 9-on-7 contact drill, when Galette blew up a run play then trash-talked fullback Erik Lorig by yelling, "Block me!" Right tackle Zach Strief then gave Galette a shove as they walked back to the line. But that was the only time any real feistiness broke out.
  • Sunday also marked the debut of my favorite individual drill in camp -- 1-on-1 pass-rush. The drill is designed to favor pass-rushers, so it's often a "win" for the blockers just to hold their man at bay. The guys who stood out most to me were Strief (for holding strong against Cameron Jordan), end Akiem Hicks (for his raw power), linebacker Keyunta Dawson (who beat tackle Bryce Harris twice) and end Glenn Foster. But obviously that's a small sample size. … The battles between Strief-Jordan, Jahri Evans-Hicks and Terron Armstead-Galette were all pretty even.
  • The "old" guys stood out Sunday in a number of the most competitive roster battles: I wrote earlier about how cornerback Champ Bailey made the play of the day. … Quarterback Luke McCown outshined Ryan Griffin. That battle is still wide open, but it was worth pointing out since Griffin has gotten more attention so far. … Kickers Shayne Graham and Derek Dimke both made all their field-goal attempts, but coach Sean Payton gave Graham a vote of confidence by saying he'll be "tough to beat out." … Payton also singled out an intecerption made by backup linebacker Ramon Humber in 7-on-7 drills as "exceptional." … And center Jonathan Goodwin got his first snaps with the first team ahead of Tim Lelito this camp. Then Lelito and McCown fumbled an exchange during team drills.
  • Payton was right. The Saints don't get bad weather. They had beautiful conditions for most of Sunday's practice, squeezing it in before a downpour started. Everyone got drenched, however, during post-practice interviews.
  • Receiver Robert Meachem missed practice after his back locked up Sunday morning, but he shouldn't be out long. Meachem tweeted that he went to the hospital to get checked out but hopes to be back on the field soon. Jairus Byrd, John Jenkins, Kenny Stills and Tavon Rooks remained sidelined. And guard Ben Grubbs sat out for part of practice, but he's been getting a lot of scheduled rest throughout the summer.
The New Orleans Saints restructured cornerback Keenan Lewis' contract to save some salary-cap space. And they are $3.09 million under the salary cap after all of their latest moves, according to the NFL Players Association.

Lewis did not take a pay cut. He simply converted some of his base salary in 2014 and 2015 into bonus money -- a common procedure in the NFL that allows teams to push the salary-cap costs back into future years.

Lewis
Lewis’ base salaries dropped from $3.3 million to $1.1 million in 2014, and from $4.1 million to $1.8 million in 2015.

UPDATED: He received a $4.4 million signing bonus as part of the restructured deal, which essentially replaced the salary. He also added slightly to future roster bonuses. Here's the new year-by-year breakdown, according to ESPN Stats and Information:

Signing bonus: $4.4 million
2014: Base salary $1 million, workout bonus $50,000. Salary-cap cost $3.35 million.
2015: Base salary $1.8 million, roster bonuses $700,000, workout bonus $50,000. Salary-cap cost $4.85 million.
2016: Base salary $4.25 million, roster bonuses $700,000, workout bonus $50,000. Salary-cap cost $7.3 million.
2017: Base salary $4.75 million, roster bonuses $700,000, workout bonus $50,000. Salary-cap cost $7.8 million.

So far, Lewis is the only Saints veteran who has done one of these simple restructures this year. In recent years, the Saints have done them with a number of players to carve out cap space.

It’s unclear whether the Saints plan more of them. They could easily push some salary-cap costs back in some of their bigger contracts with players like Drew Brees, Jahri Evans, Ben Grubbs or Marques Colston. But perhaps the Saints figure they have already pushed back enough of the cap costs on those deals and wanted to spread it around the roster a little more.

The Saints also have not touched the contract of defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley, who is to make $4.5 million in salary and bonuses this season. That seems awfully high, considering Bunkley was used as a part-time player the past two seasons. It’s possible the Saints are still considering asking for a pay cut later in the offseason (like they did with safety Roman Harper last year). Or perhaps they envision a bigger role for Bunkley this year after he finished strong last season.

Thomas
Thomas' pay cut: Running back Pierre Thomas, meanwhile, did take a pay cut in 2014 when he signed his new three-year deal with the Saints this month. The details are now available after that three-year, $6.9 million contract was officially processed.

Thomas will now make $2.4 million in salary and bonuses this season instead of $2.9 million. But that $2.4 million is all guaranteed. The Saints saved $1.33 million off this year’s salary cap with Thomas’ new deal.

Here’s the breakdown of Thomas’ contract:

Signing bonus: $1.245 million
2014: Base salary $855,000, roster bonus $300,000. Salary-cap cost $1.57 million.
2015: Base salary $2.1 million, workout bonus $50,000. Salary-cap cost $2.565 million.
2016: Base salary $2.2 million, roster bonus $100,000, workout bonus $50,000. Salary-cap cost $2.765 million.

Humber, Morgan deals: Also, the contract numbers are in on the Saints’ new one-year deals with receiver Joe Morgan and linebacker Ramon Humber. Morgan’s deal is for the minimum $495,000 with no bonuses. Humber’s deal is worth $795,000, including a $65,000 signing bonus. However, he will only count $635,000 against the Saints’ cap as part of the NFL rules regarding veteran salaries on minimum-level deals.

Observation deck: Saints-Raiders

August, 16, 2013
8/16/13
11:18
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The early part of Friday night’s 28-20 victory by the New Orleans Saints over the Oakland Raiders made me flash back four years.

Back in a 2009 preseason game the Saints went out to Oakland and humiliated the Raiders. I ended up writing a post in which I said New Orleans looked like it was heading for the Super Bowl. When the Saints got to the Super Bowl some five months later, some New Orleans fans pointed back to that post and said I was clairvoyant.

The truth was I wrote that tongue in cheek. I was complimenting the Saints, but I also was pointing out that the Raiders looked terrible.

I’m doing the same things now (based mostly on the way the Saints dominated the first half, which is all that matters in a preseason game). But, hey, if the Saints do end up going to the Super Bowl again, you can say you heard it here first.

Some other observations on the Saints:
  • For those worried about the pass rush, relax a bit. The Saints produced five sacks in the first half. You can put some of the blame on the makeshift Oakland offensive line. But the Saints deserve some credit, too. The first-team defense looked very good.
  • Inside linebacker Curtis Lofton sat out with an unspecified injury. Ramon Humber took his place and came up with a tackle for a loss on a running play and a sack. With inside linebacker Jonathan Vilma also missing some time after knee surgery, Humber might have a chance at some playing time in the regular season.
  • One of the more intriguing competitions is for the Saints' third-receiver spot. Rookie Kenny Stills and second-year pro Nick Toon both played well. Toon, who isn’t a prototypical deep threat, caught a 56-yard pass from Drew Brees early in the game. Stills, who does have the tools to be a deep threat, caught a 16-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter.
  • Running back Travaris Cadet didn’t help his chances of landing a roster spot as he lost a fumble in the third quarter. Cadet had another third-quarter fumble, but the Saints were able to recover that one.
  • Quarterback Seneca Wallace, who is competing with Luke McCown for the backup job behind Brees, didn’t have a good outing. The Saints turned the ball over three times while Wallace was in the game. McCown appears to have the inside track for the backup job.
The New Orleans Saints apparently view tight end Benjamin Watson as something more than just a backup.

The proof is in his pay.

Graham
Watson
In a twist of fate, Watson will make more than $700,000 more than what starter Jimmy Graham does in total cash this year. According to numbers obtained by ESPN.com, Watson will earn $2.15 million this season, while Graham will make $1.323 million in 2013.

Anyone else out there thinking about a possible holdout by Graham if he doesn’t get an extension (and a big raise) of a rookie contract he clearly has outplayed?

For the record, Watson’s three-year deal is worth $4.95 million. He got a $1.2 million signing bonus and a $950,000 first-year base salary. Watson’s 2014 salary jumps to $1 million and he has a $250,000 roster bonus and a $50,000 workout bonus.

In 2015, Watson’s salary will be $1.2 million and he also will have a $250,000 roster bonus and a $50,000 workout bonus.

I’ve also obtained the numbers on some other contracts recently signed by New Orleans players. Receiver/special teams player Courtney Roby got a one-year deal worth $905,000. But the Saints designated Roby as a veteran minimum benefit player, meaning his cap figure for this year is just $555,000.

The Saints did a similar maneuver with linebacker Ramon Humber. His one-year deal is worth $740,000. But the veteran minimum benefit puts his cap number at $550,000.

According to my calculations, the Saints are roughly $3.3 million under the cap.

Looking at New Orleans' free agents

February, 11, 2013
2/11/13
1:17
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Time to continue our look at the NFC South’s potential free agents with the New Orleans Saints.

Their list includes left tackle Jermon Bushrod, linebacker Jonathan Casillas, backup quarterback Chase Daniel, defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis, receiver Devery Henderson, linebacker Ramon Humber, cornerback Elbert Mack, defensive end Turk McBride, tackle Will Robinson, receiver Courtney Roby and linebacker Scott Shanle. Center Brian De La Puente, center Justin Drescher, defensive end Junior Galette and running back Chris Ivory can be restricted free agents. Safety Rafael Bush, guard Eric Olsen and tight end Michael Higgins can be exclusive-rights free agents.

The big names are Bushrod, who has made himself into a Pro Bowler, and Ellis, a former first-round pick. Although the Saints have major salary-cap issues, they are likely to at least make an attempt to keep Bushrod. But it’s important to remember the Saints aren’t like most other teams when it comes to their philosophy on paying offensive linemen. They have a history of paying more to guards (see Jahri Evans and Ben Grubbs) than they do to tackles and Bushrod could get big money on the open market.

Ellis never has lived up to his draft status and, with the Saints switching to a 3-4 defense, I’m not sure he’s a good fit for the scheme.

Henderson and Shanle used to be key players. But age started to catch up to them last season and I don’t see the Saints making a big push to keep them.

NFC South evening roundup

March, 13, 2012
3/13/12
10:36
PM ET
We’ve touched on the major news already that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have agreed to terms with wide receiver Vincent Jackson and have New Orleans guard Carl Nicks coming in for a visit.

But let’s catch up on some smaller news from around the division.
  • New Orleans cornerback Tracy Porter appears ready to leave the Saints as a free agent. He’s drawing early interest from the St. Louis Rams. The Saints have prepared for Porter’s exit by drafting Patrick Robinson and Johnny Patrick the past two years.
  • The Bucs are interested in David Carr as a backup for Josh Freeman. This makes lots of sense because Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan was Carr’s quarterbacks coach with the Giants and the Bucs seem to want a veteran to pair with Freeman. They also seem prepared to let go of last year’s backup, Josh Johnson, via free agency. But don’t put Carr on the Bucs’ roster just yet. I’ve heard he’s happy in New York and would return to the Giants if all things are equal. In other words, the Bucs probably will have to overpay if they want Carr, which they may. Even if it’s not Carr, look for the Bucs to add a veteran quarterback.
  • Although he didn’t have the four accrued seasons to initially qualify for unrestricted free agency, the Saints did not make a tender to linebacker Ramon Humber. Without the tender, Humber becomes a free agent and still could be re-signed for a minimal salary.
  • Former Carolina offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz, who was not offered a tender, and will visit with the Detroit Lions.

Lance Moore out for Saints

January, 13, 2012
1/13/12
5:28
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The final injury report for the Saints for Saturday’s playoff game with San Francisco is out, and the news is mixed.

Receiver Lance Moore (hamstring) will miss his second straight playoff game. The Saints can get by with Marques Colston, Devery Henderson and Robert Meachem as their first three receivers. But Moore’s absence means the Saints likely will keep Adrian Arrington active. Arrington played some last week, but he doesn’t have nearly as much experience as Moore.

Backup tight end John Gilmore (toe) also has been declared out for Saturday. Linebacker Jonathan Casillas (knee) is listed as questionable and practiced on a limited basis Friday. If Casillas can’t play, we likely will see more of Martez Wilson and Ramon Humber.

On the positive side, middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma (knee), strong safety Roman Harper (ankle) and Meachem all are listed as probable.

Lance Moore out for Saints

January, 6, 2012
1/06/12
5:13
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The New Orleans Saints have declared wide receiver Lance Moore (hamstring) out for Saturday’s playoff game with Detroit.

New Orleans still has plenty of healthy receivers with Marques Colston, Robert Meachem and Devery Henderson. But the Saints use all sorts of different personnel groupings and Adrian Arrington could pick up some of Moore’s playing time. Arrington has very limited playing experience.

The Saints also declared linebacker Jonathan Casillas (knee) and tight end John Gilmore (toe) out for Saturday. Martez Wilson and Ramon Humber could get more playing time with Casillas out.

The Saints are listing Meachem (knee), linebacker Jonathan Vilma (knee), safety Malcolm Jenkins (neck) and safety Jonathon Amaya (shoulder) as probable.

The only Detroit player who is listed as anything other than probable is safety Chris Harris, who is doubtful with a back injury.
It looks like there’s a growing chance the New Orleans Saints might have to play their wild-card playoff game against Detroit without wide receiver Lance Moore.

He missed his second straight day of practice with a hamstring injury. Moore missed the regular-season finale. The Saints have good depth at wide receiver as Marques Colston, Robert Meachem and Devery Henderson are all capable of handling lots of playing time. But the Saints like to work with different personnel groupings and that could mean an increased role for Adrian Arrington, who does not have a lot of experience.

Linebacker Jonathan Casillas also missed another practice with a knee injury, making it likely he will not be able to play against Detroit. That could mean more playing time for Ramon Humber and Martez Wilson.

Reserve tight end John Gilmore (toe) also missed Thursday’s practice. Middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma participated on a limited basis for the second straight day.

Injury updates on Falcons, Saints

December, 24, 2011
12/24/11
2:36
PM ET
The Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints just filed their final injury reports for their “Monday Night Football’’ game.

New Orleans running back Mark Ingram (toe) is doubtful. Don’t expect to see him Monday. The Saints also have Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles and Chris Ivory at running back. They’re better off resting Ingram and making sure he’s fully healthy for the playoffs. Linebackers Jonathan Casillas (knee) and Ramon Humber (knee) also are listed as doubtful. Receiver Lance Moore is questionable with a hamstring injury and was held out of Saturday’s practice.

The Falcons are listing cornerback Kelvin Hayden (toe), receiver Kerry Meier (groin) and linebacker Stephen Nicholas (toe) as doubtful. Cornerback Brent Grimes is questionable as he attempts to come back from knee surgery. But the Falcons seem optimistic Grimes will play. If Grimes plays and Hayden doesn’t, look for Dominique Franks to be used as the third cornerback. If Nicholas doesn’t play, veteran Mike Peterson likely will start in his place.

Patrick Robinson inactive for Saints

December, 12, 2010
12/12/10
3:12
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NEW ORLEANS -- Couple of interesting names on the list of inactives for the Saints. Before we get to that, though, running back Pierre Thomas is active for the first time since suffering an ankle injury in September.

The biggest surprise among the inactives is rookie cornerback Patrick Robinson. The Saints’ first-round draft pick, Robinson has spent most of the season as a backup, but did get some starts when Jabari Greer and Tracy Porter were hurt early in the year. Robinson hasn’t been much of a factor recently. Safety Usama Young also is a bit of a surprise on the inactive list. Young usually plays on special teams and he wasn’t on the injury report this week.

The other inactives for the Saints are: running back Julius Jones, linebacker Ramon Humber, offensive tackle Charles Brown, tight end Tory Humphrey, defensive end Junior Galette and linebacker Kawika Mitchell.

Thoughts on Bills 34, Colts 21

August, 20, 2010
8/20/10
8:04
AM ET
Sometimes geography and TV schedules make seeing a preseason game impossible. In New Orleans, I was unable to see the Indianapolis-Buffalo game. But from highlights, write-ups and statistical review, here are some bullet-point thoughts on the Colts’ 34-21 loss to Buffalo on Thursday night in Toronto.

Impressive:
  • Joseph Addai showed great burst and was slippery on his 17-yard touchdown run.
  • Jacob Tamme found a nice space between three defenders and Peyton Manning put a perfect pass there for a 21-yard score.
  • Bob Sanders was back on the field for the first time since Nov. 1, 2009.
  • Curtis Painter fared far better than he did in the preseason opener, completing 5 of 6 passes for 97 yards, a touchdown and a perfect 158.3 passer rating.
  • Devin Moore had a nice night as a return man, with two punt returns for 51 yards and four kickoff returns for 129 yards.

Disappointing:
  • Dwight Freeney and Antoine Bethea were among the players who slipped off of C.J. Spiller during the rookie’s 31-yard touchdown run.
  • The Colts stutter-started with early penalties against Ramon Humber and Tony Ugoh and a Manning tipped-ball interception that was returned for a touchdown.
  • Just one sack, from Eric Foster.
  • Three lost fumbles, including one from Ray Fisher who’s trying to win a return job.
  • Not that they care, but ... this was Indy's 21st loss in its last 25 preseason games.

AFC East wizard Tim Graham was there to look at things from a Buffalo perspective. Here are his notes and his column on Spiller.

Looking back at goats and gaffes

February, 10, 2010
2/10/10
10:23
AM ET
After re-watching most of Super Bowl XLIV, I was left wondering whether the goats and gaffes beyond Peyton Manning's late interception got off a bit easy. So let’s revisit a couple:

[+] EnlargeHank Baskett
Ronald Martinez/Getty ImagesHank Baskett, right, was unable to come up with the onside kick that started the second half.
Hank Baskett mangled the onside kick. He was wide to the side that Thomas Morstead sent the surprise second half kickoff to and took a giant step and a half back before realizing what was going on. Cody Glenn, who was beside him, and Ramon Humber, who was central, also reacted poorly. But Baskett’s the hands guy of that trio. He recovered and got a clean look at the kick before any Saints player arrived, sprawling forward and letting the ball bounce off his face mask. A horrific effort.

Another special-teams error came from Chad Simpson. The guy is not an explosive returner. If he’s not positive he’s getting to the 20 or beyond, he better take a touchback. So what is he doing at the end of the third quarter bringing out a kickoff from 4 yards deep when the best he could manage was the 11-yard line?

Reggie Wayne’s effort on two big passes seemed questionable. He and Manning can praise Tracy Porter endlessly, but Wayne seemed to give up on the route. He allowed Porter to gain position on a pattern analysts say he’s got to be sure continues and crosses the corner who’s in coverage. The move he made before he made his break didn’t look like much and the cut wasn’t very sharp. TV only showed it for a quick second, but Manning went to Wayne before walking off the field, head down, and said something to Wayne who kind of shook his head no and shrugged.

The Colts would have had to retrieve an onside kick and scored another touchdown, but Wayne also botched a TD catch near the end of the game. I asked him what happened there and he said he wasn’t in the end zone and was trying to ensure he had proper depth as he made the catch to make sure it was a score.

Maybe he was slow playing it, but Wayne seemed almost disinterested in his crossing route from wide to the left to between the hashes, and as the ball went through his hands, I didn’t think he was worrying about his depth, I thought he was worrying about Scott Shanle preparing to pop him.

Two other things of interest at this point in the game: On the first timeout, Manning signaled for it, then tried to change his mind. I was surprised by his indecision. And the third-down run call at 1:10 is just silly. The Colts couldn't afford the 21 seconds they lost when Joseph Addai was stuffed.

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