Sean Payton probably tampered with Travaris Cadet, using the New York Jets’ highly flawed definition of the charge.
Payton paid high praise to the New England Patriots’ recently signed running back Wednesday at the NFL Annual Meeting. The New Orleans Saints head coach said he would have brought Cadet back if his team was unable to upgrade the third-down back position in free agency.
“He’s a real smart player,” Payton told reporters in Phoenix, via the Boston Herald. “He’s exceptional as a receiver. His ability to run routes other than just from the running back route tree, he is someone that can jump in the receiver line and run out-routes and run comebacks and actually has experience doing that. So when he came to us as an (undrafted) free agent in ’12, he came the first week or two and was in receiver meetings and receiver drills.
“He is exceptionally smart. He is a great teammate. He is someone we would have wanted to have back were we not able to sign C.J. Spiller. But I would say his hands and his football IQ are exceptional.”
Cadet caught 38 passes for 296 yards with one touchdown last season, though he has just 11 career carries. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound running back played a variety of positions at Appalachian State, including quarterback and receiver.
Cadet also could contribute as a kick returner, where he brought back 50 kicks for 1,293 yards in three seasons with the Saints.
The Patriots lost third-down back Shane Vereen to the New York Giants in free agency, so Cadet and second-year pro James White are expected to share that role in 2014. Cadet’s lack of experience as a pass-blocker could limit his ability to fully take over Vereen’s old position.
Payton also touched on Cadet’s lack of experience as a pass-blocker Wednesday. Read Payton’s full comments on Cadet at BostonHerald.com.
Thumbnail photo via Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports Images
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