As they prepare to break camp in West Virginia and head home to Louisiana in advance of their preseason home opener Friday night, the New Orleans Saints made a roster move Wednesday, signing tight end Travis Beckum.
Beckum, a former 3rd round pick of the New York Giants, takes the roster spot of Richard Quinn, who was placed on the reserve/retired list earlier this week. Quinn had been signed last week in order to provide depth behind Jimmy Graham, Benjamin Watson, Josh Hill, and Nic Jacobs. Je'Ron Hamm, an undrafted free agent, has missed the last several practices with an injury while fullback Erik Lorig, who can also play at tight end in a pinch, has been dealing with a leg ailment.
The Giants selected Beckum in round 3 of the 2009 NFL Draft, and the former Wisconsin standout was developing as a backup behind Jake Ballard in New York. He caught a total of 26 passes for 264 yards and 3 touchdowns in his first three seasons as a pro, before suffering a torn ACL during the G-men's Super Bowl XLVI triumph over the New England Patriots. The Saints have brought in former New York Giant Travis Beckum.
Beckum returned the following season, but did not record any statistics in 2012, after missing the first several weeks while on the physically unable to perform list. The 6-3 234 Beckum had spent part of the 2014 offseason with the defending champion Seattle Seahawks, but was released in May.
Beckum will be in line to play Friday night against Tennessee, and should continue to provide depth and cover at the tight end position throughout the remainder of the preseason slate, though his chances of cracking the final 53-man roster seem highly unlikely due to the presence of Graham, Watson and Hill, while Jacobs projects as a candidate to land on the practice squad.
Quinn, 27, ultimately decided that his heart was no longer in the game, and retired Monday after less than a week in camp with New Orleans. The former 2009 2nd round draft choice of the Denver Broncos ends his NFL career with just a single catch for 9 yards. In addition to Denver, Quinn also had stints with the Washington Redskins, Cincinnati Bengals, and Arizona Cardinals.
Saints coach Sean Payton confirmed that Quinn simply elected to call time on his career due to his waning interest in the grind that goes into making an NFL roster.
“He came and saw me and just felt like it was time, that he didn’t want to play,” Payton said. “It was a little bit of a surprise, but that happens at times. He’s been five years now, and he just didn’t want to play anymore. Look, to compete and to play this game, there’s a physical element, but just as importantly there’s a mental element. And if your heart’s not in it, it’s awfully hard to do this job.”
The 6-4 264 North Carolina alum appeared in 20 games over the course of his career, the last coming with the Redskins in 2011.