METAIRIE, La. -- Willie Snead remains unsigned as an exclusive rights free agent. But the New Orleans Saints receiver told NOLA.com on Monday that he plans to be on the field when the team begins practicing on Thursday.
That's not a surprise since Snead also participated in New Orleans' OTAs and minicamp this offseason after signing a waiver.
Snead, 24, has been hoping for a long-term contract extension with the Saints and switched agents this summer from Jim Miller to the higher-profile Drew Rosenhaus. But it's rare for exclusive-rights free agents to earn big paydays in the NFL. That's the designation for players with less than three years of service.
Snead didn't have the ability to negotiate with any other teams this offseason because the Saints offered him the one-year qualifying tender of $615,000. He is scheduled to become a restricted free agent next year.
Snead has had a remarkable two-year stretch with the Saints after going undrafted out of Ball State in 2014 and being cut by both the Cleveland Browns and Carolina Panthers that year. The 5-foot-11, 195-pounder has 141 receptions for 1,879 yards and seven touchdowns over the past two seasons. His role could increase this season after the Saints traded Brandin Cooks.