The Obvious Choice for Irv Smith’s Next Team

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Eleven days of NFL free agency have passed, and tight end Irv Smith has yet to sign on the dotted line with the Minnesota Vikings or a new team.

The Vikings employ tight end T.J. Hockenson — and four other tight ends as of March 24th — making a reunion in Minnesota severely unlikely. But there is an “all signs point to” frontrunner for Smith’s services, the New Orleans Saints.

The Obvious Choice for Irv Smith’s Next Team

Here’s why.

Hometown Connection

Choice for Irv Smith
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Smith was born in New Orleans, and sometimes those hometown connections in sports matter to players. Adam Thielen, C.J. Ham, and Chris Reed can tell you all about it.

He attended Brother Martin High School in New Orleans before venturing to the University of Alabama for college between 2016 and 2018. And Smith’s father, Irv Smith Sr., began his career with the Saints in 1993. He remained in New Orleans for five seasons, mostly for the Jim Everett era at quarterback.

As Smith, the son, hasn’t signed anywhere as of March 23rd, it might be time to head home.

The Foster Moreau Situation

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New Orleans was supposed to have its TE2 plan all wrapped up with the free-agent addition of Foster Moreau from the Las Vegas Raiders. But then the unthinkable happened to the 25-year-old.

Moreau tweeted Wednesday, “Through somewhat of a miraculous process, this Free Agency period has been life-changing for me. During a routine physical conducted by the Saint’s medical team down in New Orleans, I’ve come to learn that I have Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and will be stepping away from football. at this time to fight a new opponent: Cancer.”

“I’m grateful for the support and thankful for people who have stood firm with me. There hasn’t been a single step I’ve taken without hundreds of people lighting the path before me, and I will continue to seek their guidance. That being said, I’ll go kick this thing’s ass and get back to doing what I love!” Moreau declared.

Moreau will battle back to the NFL in time — kudos to the Saints thorough medical staff — after he conquers cancer. In the meantime, Smith can fill the Moreau role on the football side.

More Oomph Needed for NO

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Chris Olave is already the Saints unabashed WR1 after a nifty rookie season. Michael Thomas will be back, too, but one must assume he’ll be a non-factor, as has been the case for the last three seasons.

After those men, it’s TE Juwan Johnson and WR3 Rashid Shaheed. Setting up new QB1 Derek Carr with another ready-to-breakout weapon can’t be a bad idea. Plus, Smith can likely be obtained at an affordable value with free agency largely past the bonanza period.

Smith is an athletic specimen who was beset by injuries in Minnesota. He also didn’t get a TE1 shake until Year 3 of his career — and he was injured for the year right as the TE1 label was placed next to his name in 2021. He certainly didn’t thrive to start 2022, and the Vikings traded for the aforementioned Hockenson accordingly, but Carr has experience maximizing tight ends. Smith just makes too much sense in New Orleans.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

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