The New Orleans Saints rookie class arrived in town for the start of training camp a week earlier than their more-experienced peers, but wide receiver Rashid Shaheed has to wait a little longer to hit the practice field. Shaheed was designated to the non-football injury (NFI) list on Tuesday’s update to the daily NFL transactions wire, which makes sense considering he’s actively recovering from an ACL injury. That sidelined him during minicamp earlier this summer, and it’s going to keep him out of practice again to open training camp.
What’s unclear is whether this is the same ACL that Shaheed injured back in 2019 at Weber State, and where he’s at in his recovery timeline. He’s a young player at a crowded position group and needs these reps in practice to make his case for a roster spot. The Saints clearly valued him by guaranteeing $220,000 of his standard three-year undrafted rookie contract, including his $207,000 base salary for 2022. They’re anticipating his return to health and for him to make a push for a roster spot.
Odds are the Saints anticipated Shaheed would start camp on the NFI list, but that’s just guesswork. Either way he has his work cut out for him with Michael Thomas, Jarvis Landry, Chris Olave, Marquez Callaway, and Deonte Harty locked into roster spots. New Orleans rarely rosters more than five or six receivers at a time, so Shaheed will need to outwork veterans like Tre’Quan Smith, Kevin White, Easop Winston Jr., Kawaan Baker, and Kirk Merritt as well as his fellow undrafted rookie Dai’Jean Dixon for that final slot.
Maybe Shaheed gets released in September, clears waivers, and returns to the practice squad (the Saints typically stash two or three receivers), but we’re really putting the cart before the horse there. For now, we’ll be looking for him to complete his injury rehab work and flash the kick return skills that enticed New Orleans in the first place. There’s still plenty of time for him to get up to speed before the first Saints preseason game on Aug. 13.