The Saints are interested in hammering out a deal that would bring receiver Robert Meachem back to New Orleans for 2014, NFL sources confirmed Saturday.
The Saints and Meachem’s camp had broached the topic of a new contract by Friday, one of the sources said. Of course, what will ultimately determine whether Meachem rejoins the Black and Gold is if he and the team can agree on how much he’s worth.
Meachem — due to become an unrestricted free agent March 11 — had only 16 receptions for New Orleans in 2013. But he led the Saints in yards per catch (20.3) and had a pair of touchdown grabs, and the 6-foot-2, 210-pound wideout is valued greatly by coach Sean Payton’s staff for his ability to block well down the field.
Meachem has been in the NFL since the Saints drafted him in 2007, and he earned a base salary of $715,000 last season. Only one of his seasons has not been with the Saints: In 2012, he signed a four-year, $25.5 million contract with San Diego that guaranteed him $14 million.
The Chargers released Meachem after he caught just 14 passes for 207 yards and two TDs in his first season, and he returned to the Saints for 2013.
It didn’t take long for Meachem to show the hustle that the Saints love in him. In a Week 2 win, as Tampa Bay linebacker Mason Foster picked off a Saints pass at the 15 and returned it for a touchdown, Meachem raced 96 yards to New Orleans’ 2 in an effort to prevent the score. He tripped Foster near the goal line, but the linebacker still managed to reach the end zone.
Meachem is one of three unrestricted Saints free agents who helped the team win its lone Super Bowl title at the end of the 2009 season. He has 157 catches, 2,593 yards and 25 receiving touchdowns in 77 regular-season contests for the Saints. His 25 TD receptions are the eighth-most in franchise history, and he has another 17 catches, 292 yards and a scoring grab in eight playoff games.
ESPN reported earlier this month that the Cowboys might target Meachem. There has been speculation that Dallas could release Miles Austin, and the idea is that Meachem could come in to add affordable, veteran depth.
Coleman won’t return
The Saints will not re-sign unrestricted free agent Kenyon Coleman, a league source confirmed.
Coleman, who joined the NFL in 2002, signed with the Saints last year and was going to fight to start for New Orleans at left defensive end. But he tore a pectoral muscle during training camp and landed on season-ending injured reserve, and he was essentially replaced by Akiem Hicks.
Coleman’s agent, Jordan Woy, told ESPN that his client intends to retire.