After Saints coach Sean Payton on Wednesday announced that left tackle Charles Brown would be benched in favor of rookie Terron Armstead and veteran free-agent kicker Shayne Graham would replace the waived Garrett Hartley, much attention will be paid to those two topics.
But Saints fans shouldn’t overlook a third personnel move that Payton revealed: the signing of free-agent safety Eric Frampton, brought in to bolster New Orleans’ special-teams kicking coverage. Frampton will occupy the roster spot vacated by backup cornerback Chris Carr, waived on Tuesday.
Frampton stood out in Dallas last season by getting in on 21 tackles and a recovering a fumble on special teams, when the Cowboys defense was under the command of coordinator Rob Ryan, who’s now with the Saints. He also played in 10 games for a defense that was plagued by injuries and started at strong safety for two contests, getting in on 18 tackles and breaking up two passes in his only season with Dallas.
The Cowboys released Frampton with an injury settlement in September after he hurt his groin the previous month.
In 2011, when he was with the Minnesota Vikings, Frampton recorded a career-high 22 tackles on special teams and was voted the unit’s most valuable player.
Oakland selected Frampton out of Washington State in the fifth round of the 2007 draft — Ryan was the Raiders’ defensive coordinator at the time. The Raiders cut Frampton prior to the start of the season.
Frampton was then in Detroit briefly before landing in Minnesota for the next 4 1/2 seasons.
Payton said Frampton would miss practice on Wednesday morning because he wouldn’t arrive in New Orleans until the afternoon. The Saints (10-4) are preparing to visit divisional rival Carolina (10-4) on Sunday.
If the Saints win, they’ll clinch the NFC South pennant, the No. 2 seed in their conference and a first-round bye in the playoffs. They’ll also have home-field advantage in the divisional round of the playoffs.