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John Kuhn to Saints: Latest Contract Details, Comments and Reaction

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 20:  Fullback John Kuhn #30 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates his 5-yard touchdown against the Oakland Raiders in the first quarter on December 20, 2015 at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, California.  The Packers won 30-20. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Veteran fullback John Kuhn has reached an agreement with the New Orleans Saints. 

ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky first reported the deal between Kuhn and the Saints. Kuhn's agent, Kevin Gold, confirmed the deal to Demovsky on Saturday, and noted it was for the veteran minimum. 

Kuhn has been a stalwart in Green Bay for the past eight seasons. He's never played an extensive part in the rushing attack—his career high in offensive touches is 99 in 2010—but he helped the Packers as a lead blocker and short-yardage threat.

Kuhn addressed Packers fans after his departure:

John Kuhn @kuhnj30

#DearPackerNation, I wanted to bid farewell the right way! https://t.co/Gkfm7F1JGS

The 33-year-old Pennsylvania native has become used to his annual trip to the free-agent market. He's signed a series of one-year contracts with the Packers in recent years. He told Paul A. Smith of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in March that he wasn't sure if Green Bay would extend the same offer.

"That's like the million dollar question," Kuhn said. "I've pondered many different things and always tried to keep doors open."

His status was brought into further question by the presence of second-year fullback Aaron Ripkowski, a sixth-round selection in 2015. Weston Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press-Gazette noted head coach Mike McCarthy was hoping the reserve could take another step forward.

Ripkowski understood the heavy burden he'd face if he did take over the No. 1 spot, stating: "He's a legend. I have big shoes to fill but we're different players," per Matt Hietpas of WBAY.

The situation forced Kuhn to sit on the free-agent market for a while as he waited to see if the Packers were still interested or if it was time to explore other options.

Ultimately, Kuhn decided to move on to a new opportunity with the Saints. It will probably feel a bit weird when he arrives to training camp without wearing the green and gold, but the move represented his best chance to make an impact in 2016.

Kuhn is a throwback player because he's a traditional fullback in a league that doesn't utilize the position as often as it once did. The 33-year-old has never been a prolific runner, with his career high in carries being 84, but he is so big and strong that his ability in short-yardage situations is invaluable. 

The Saints will also love having Kuhn in the backfield as a blocker. Bryan Hall of Pro Football Focus noted in a November game last season the fullback amassed a run-block grade of plus-2.7 in just 10 snaps played. 

Drew Brees missed one game last season with a shoulder injury, so getting more blockers to keep their star quarterback upright is a priority for the Saints in 2016. 

Kuhn's role will likely be limited to select offensive packages and special teams, as was the case in Green Bay. But he's proved himself as a reliable member of a backfield over the past decade, making him a nice, low-cost addition at this stage of the offseason.

   

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