METAIRIE, La. (AP) — The New Orleans Saints have cut cornerback Prince Amukamara and waived kicker Brett Maher with an injury designation, coach Sean Payton said Tuesday.
Payton said New Orleans also waived rookie running back Stevie Scott, cut linebacker Noah Spence, placed offensive lineman Kyle Murphy on injured reserve and placed defensive back KeiVarae Russell on the club’s COVID-19 reserve list.
While the Saints did not disclose Maher’s injury, it became apparent he was hampered in the club’s preseason opener at Baltimore because he did perform any kickoffs. Maher only kicked extra points after New Orleans’ two touchdowns in a 17-14 loss.
Nolan Cooney, one of two punters on the Saints’ preseason roster, handled kickoffs against the Ravens.
The Saints did not have a placekicker at practices on Sunday evening or Tuesday because Wil Lutz, who has kicked for New Orleans the past five seasons, is rehabilitating from surgery for a core muscle injury.
The Saints have expressed optimism that Lutz could return early in the regular season. And while Payton said the Saints probably would sign another kicker in time for their next preseason game on Monday night, he noted that the club didn’t necessarily need to do that.
“We could go for 2 (after touchdowns) of go for it every time on fourth down” when within field-goal range, Payton suggested. “It’s a preseason game. Our plan will be to have somebody (who can kick field goals), but we’ll just see where that’s at.”
Amukamara was signed early in training camp and briefly received first-team snaps in practice. The Saints are looking to sort out the cornerback position after 2020 starter Janoris Jenkins was released in a cost cutting move and signed with Tennessee.
New Orleans lost another veteran cornerback when Patrick Robinson retired last week. But Ken Crawley and third-round pick Paulson Adebo have emerged as top candidates to start.
Both could start in the regular-season opener against Green Bay on Sept. 12 if the NFL decides to suspend top Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore because of an offseason arrest in Ohio on a gun possession charge.
Scott, who was undrafted out of Indiana, was part of a position group where the Saints still have their top three running backs from last season: Alvin Kamara, Latavius Murray and Dwayne Washington. Meanwhile, Tony Jones Jr. stood out at Baltimore with 82 yards and a touchdown on seven carries.
Spence has played defensive end and linebacker, both positions where the Saints have incumbent starters and depth from early round draft picks. His release came as linebacker Kwon Alexander began to take more snaps at practice this week. Alexander recently re-signed with New Orleans following rehabilitation from an Achilles injury late last season, when he was a starter.