Coby Fleener, the tight end, at New Orleans Saints has been having it very tough in the past two seasons, the final of which is his unsurprising release from the franchise.
It was in 2016 that Saints had got him for a five-year, $36 million contract. He had actually replaced Benjamin Watson. But a quirk of fate has now seen Watson replacing the injured Fleener with a free agency replacement.
Injuries and poor form
In the two years, he had been with the franchise, there have been more misses than match-winning performances from the once-fancied tight end.
He had just 22 passes for 295 yards; two touchdowns from last year’s 11 games and worst of all ending the season with a concussion.
The release on May 7 appears to have been on the back of medical clearances. It does appear that Saints have had already guaranteed $3.4 million towards the player’s injury, against the $6.4 million salary.
The reason for his release was stated as “failed physical.”
Back in 2016, Fleener had great prospects at Saints. A specialist at the pass-catching tight end, he failed to overcome his friendly moments with Jimmy Graham and Watson and failed to make his mark on the field and at Saints. His statistics reveal the true story: 50 catches for 631 yards. Three touchdown catches plus one touchdown run.
One of the primary reasons for signing the tight back in 2016, had been the strategy at Saints to focus on this tactic, and in the offseason had pursued Graham who proved to be very expensive.
Fleener’s career was with Indianapolis Colts when he was chosen after a second round out of Stanford. It is indeed unfortunate that for an athletic and skilled player such as him, injuries have put a stop to his fantastic abilities. With his great pass-catches, his reputation had preceded him during and after the draft time. As noted one of the main reasons for Saints to choose him was his ability to get by with those tight passes.
However, with Fleener now not in a position to play further lately; he did mention that this was not the first time that he was unable to play due to this condition. Instead, he considered further safety measures and further research in this kind of injuries to help players like him. He has been cooperating with his teams and researchers to help further the sports medicine and injury cause. But it needs to be seen if all of his efforts will revive a chance for him to play again. The injury apart, his poor form in earlier matches continue to be an indicator of his failing abilities in continuing with the game and becoming a match-winner.
As he rests and recovers from his injuries, it is yet to be seen if there will be other teams who will be interested in hiring him. This is beyond his proven capabilities as a tight pass-catcher who had an excellent disposition towards this skill but has now lost the capacity for such great catches.