The changes to the Saints’ passing game this offseason went beyond quarterback Drew Brees’ retirement.
Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and tight end Jared Cook are both playing elsewhere after combining for 98 catches during the 2020 season, but neither departure spurred the Saints toward a splashy addition at either position. That puts the onus on returning players stepping up to fill the void.
Tre'Quan Smith is one of the wideouts in that position. He’s caught 80 passes through his first three seasons in New Orleans and he sees the chance to get a lot more playing with Michael Thomas this season.
“I definitely feel like it’s a big opportunity for me, knowing that they didn’t bring in any veterans and didn’t draft a high receiver,” Smith said, via Mike Triplett of ESPN.com. “I feel like they expect me to show up this year. And that’s just what I’m gonna do, and I appreciate that.”
Smith had two touchdown catches in the playoffs last season, including a 56-yarder from Jameis Winston against the Bucs. Should Winston wind up as the starter, that kind of big play threat is something the Saints will likely try to use to their advantage.