Having suffered some major injuries this offseason up front, the New Orleans Saints reached out to a former starter to help stem the tide.
The Saints signed former San Diego Chargers starting center Chris Watt, Larry Holder of NOLA.com reports. The status of starting center Max Unger is uncertain for Week 1 at this point, and the team looks to have made an insurance investment.
Saints sign former Chargers C Chris Watt.
— Larry Holder (@LarryHolder) June 19, 2017
Sean Payton said last month he expects Unger to be ready for the Saints’ opener after he underwent foot surgery this offseason. Initially, though, Unger was believed to be set to miss the start of the season after suffering the injury in early May. Reports had a tentative five-month recovery timetable for the veteran snapper.
Behind Unger, the Saints have only guard/center Senio Kelemete and 2016 undrafted player Jack Allen. Kelemete actually has more starts under his belt than Watt, having broken with New Orleans’ first unit nine times last season. But none of those starts came at center, and all of Watt’s eight starts have come as his team’s snapper.
Watt wasn’t particularly effective when he did start, playing a part-time role in 2014 and 2015 after arriving as a third-round Bolts pick in 2014. Watt spent some of the 2016 season on the physically unable to perform list before the Chargers waived him with an injury designation.
A Notre Dame blocker, Watt was the first of three centers/interior linemen the Chargers selected in the third round over a four-year period. Max Tuerk and Dan Feeney are competing for time in Los Angeles while Watt will now attempt to make good on a second chance.
The Saints are also without left tackle Terron Armstead, who suffered a torn labrum that will keep him out several months.