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Ted Ginn Jr., New Orleans Saints Agree to Contract

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 10, 2017

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 1:  Wide receiver Ted Ginn #19 of the Carolina Panthers runs the ball during the second quarter of an NFL game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on January 1, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
Brian Blanco/Getty Images

Veteran wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. agreed to a deal with the New Orleans Saints in free agency, the team announced Friday.

ESPN's Dianna Russini initially reported the move Thursday. On Saturday, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Ginn's three-year deal is worth $11 million, with $3 million guaranteed. 

Ginn is coming off two of the most productive seasons of his 10-year NFL career, as he developed into one of quarterback Cam Newton's favorite targets with the Carolina Panthers.

After reeling in 44 receptions for 739 yards and a career-high 10 touchdowns in 2015, Ginn registered 54 catches for 752 yards and four touchdowns last season.

The former first-round pick of the Miami Dolphins previously left the Panthers after one season with the team in 2013, but after an awful campaign with the Arizona Cardinals, he returned to Carolina.

Ginn thrived as the Panthers' primary deep threat to complement wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin and tight end Greg Olsen.

Following the 2016 season, Ginn expressed a desire to remain with the Panthers and continue serving in his vital role for the offense, according to Davie Hinshaw of the Charlotte Observer:

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I came back, why leave? They treat us like men. They treat us like family. And that means a lot when you're out here and you're playing this game. And then you go on to [head coach Ron] Rivera, and the type of leadership he has and it fits my coaching.

As long as you buy in, man, you'll be seen as being whatever you want to be. That's what it is around here, man. You can be yourself, be who you are.

The former Ohio State standout has enjoyed success as a return man at certain points during his career, but he hasn't scored a return touchdown since 2014.

His game has evolved to the point that he is more valuable as a pass-catcher, although he has been known to struggle in that regard at times.

The 31-year-old hasn't caught more than 60 percent of his targets in a full season since 2008, and his penchant for dropping catchable balls can be frustrating, as well as big momentum-killers for the offense.

He still has speed to burn and excels at getting behind defensive backs, however, which makes him a commodity in what has largely developed into a pass-first league.

With the exception of one solid year with the Dolphins, Ginn has yet to show that he can put up strong numbers for a team other than the Panthers.

He will have that opportunity with the Saints, but signing him is a risk considering how much he struggled the last time he left Carolina.

Ginn joins a Saints offense that ranked first in passing last season, led by quarterback Drew Brees, and becomes part of a great wide receiver corps that also includes Brandin Cooks, Michael Thomas and Willie Snead.

Cooks has been the subject of trade rumors lately, per ESPN's Chris Mortensen, which means Ginn could be insurance if a deal is struck.

Ginn is a different player than Cooks, but his big-play ability is something that should fit well in New Orleans' quick-strike offense.  

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