The NFL off-season has just about wrapped up. Most teams are getting ready to report to training camps. Although, final rosters are still unknown. For the New Orleans Saints, the likely position of need going into training camps is at the cornerback position. General Manager Mickey Loomis stated this week that the team does desire to expand this position. If the Saints were to sign someone, these are some potential candidates for the team to look at.
The New Orleans Saints Cornerback Situation
On WWLAMFM, Mickey Loomis stated this week, “We’d love to have another corner in the building and create some depth. I like the guys we got, but it’s one of those positions you can never have enough. Honestly, if the cap situation was different, we might have made a different decision with Janoris.” Loomis referred to the recently departed Janoris Jenkins by name. Jenkins was a quiet number two corner for the Saints 2020 season. Jenkins played 77% of the defensive snaps in 2020, snaps that the Saints will have to find a way to make up for. It is just the business of football that kept Jenkins from still being on the team. He stated this week that the Saints were “hands down” the best organization he has been with. High praise from a nine-year NFL veteran.
Currently, the Saints have Marshon Lattimore, C.J. Gardner-Johnson, P.J. Williams, and newly drafted Paulson Adebo as their main cornerback depth. Williams and Gardner-Johnson move all over the field. Their positions are determined by the play calling on most plays, so they can fill many roles. Lattimore has been a lockdown corner in most years and will look to cement that going into the 2021 season. The questions about Lattimore revolve around some off-field issues stemming from an arrest earlier this year in Cleveland. If Lattimore misses any time, the Saints secondary will be incredibly thin. Adebo goes into his first NFL season in 2021. Adebo is an unknown going into the season, which is not ideal for an already thin cornerback unit. It is clear why Loomis expressed interest in signing another player for the Saints secondary.
Potential Cornerback Free Agents
The most obvious name still waiting to sign with a team is Richard Sherman. Much has been made about signing Sherman this off-season but it appears as if he is taking his time to make a decision about his future. Sherman is an aging cornerback but can still contribute due to his knowledge of the position. Sherman will likely not be asked to cover the best-opposing receivers for the Saints which could extend his career some. Having his knowledge in-house for guys like Paulson Adebo would also be invaluable. Sherman has stated that he wishes “that’s competing for a championship.” This could very well be the Saints if everyone buys into whichever quarterback wins the starting job in 2021.
Must like Sherman, there are a couple of NFL veterans still looking for jobs in 2021. Buster Skrine and D.J. Hayden still remain unsigned. Skrine was cut this off-season after playing for the Chicago Bears the past two seasons. Skrine only started three games in the 2020 season and appeared in 12 total games. He gave up a completion on 78% of the passes targeting him, a career-low. In 2019, he allowed under a 60% completion rate after appearing in all 16 games for the Bears. D.J. Hayden is a slightly different case. He spent almost the entire 2020 season on the I.R. list after having his best season in 2019. If either of these players wants to make a difference for an NFL defense, they will need to get back to their 2019 play.
One of the more intriguing, yet quiet, names still unsigned is Brian Poole. Poole is primarily a slot corner who spent his last two seasons with the New York Jets. The Jets defensive secondary was not great during this time, but Poole was one of its better players. Poole totaled three interceptions in his time with the Jets and gave up 63% completions on passes thrown his way. Poole is likely searching for the best situation as he is most comfortable in the slot. If Lattimore, Adebo, and Gardner-Johnson are able to handle the outside receivers, then Poole would make a great signee as the third cornerback on the field.
The Saints Likely to Sign a Cornerback
The New Orleans Saints have never been shy about pursuing desired players. After July 1, some NFL cap situations change. Expect the Saints to make an offer to one or more of these players to strengthen their secondary. If Mickey Loomis and Sean Payton are targeting a player, then it is likely they will get their man. As Jenkins stated, the Saints are one of the best-run organizations in the NFL and the desired landing spot for many players. Expect the New Orleans Saints to strengthen the cornerback position before the 2021 NFL Season.
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