The New Orleans Saints announced that they have agreed to terms with unrestricted free agent TE Benjamin Watson on a one-year contract. The announcement was made by Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis.
Watson, 6-3, 255 pounds, is a 14-year NFL veteran who has played for the New England Patriots (2004-09), Cleveland Browns (2010-12), Saints (2013-15) and the Baltimore Ravens (2016-17), returning to New Orleans after his first stint with the club. Watson was initially a first round pick (32nd overall) of the Patriots in the 2004 NFL Draft.
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Over the course of his 14-year National Football League career, Watson has appeared in 179 regular season games with 132 starts, posting 495 receptions for 5,485 yards (11.1 avg.) with 42 touchdowns. In 11 postseason contests with nine starts, Watson has added 21 receptions for 222 yards with three touchdowns. Playing for New Orleans from 2013-15, Watson enjoyed his most productive season as a professional in 2015, when he posted 74 receptions for 825 yards (11.1 avg.) with six touchdowns, setting career-highs in receiving and receiving yardage and also tying his career-best in receiving touchdowns. After missing the entire 2016 season due to an Achilles injury suffered in the preseason for the Ravens, Watson rebounded in 2017 to lead Baltimore in receiving, appearing in all 16 games with 12 starts and recording 61 receptions for 522 yards with four touchdowns. He was voted by his teammates as the Ravens’ recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award.
Watson is one of the most respected men in the entire league. He was a finalist for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award last year, which was ultimately won by J.J. Watt, and is known for his community work off the field. He should fit in nicely with the locker room in New Orleans, and be a productive player for the Saints in 2018.