Rams get Cortland Finnegan; Saints Tracy Porter still an option
By Keith Null
Free agent Cortland Finnegan agreed to a five-year deal with the St. Louis Rams yesteday, reuniting the fiery corner with former Tennessee Titans head coach Jeff Fisher, who took over for Steve Spagnuolo last month.
Finnegan’s deal with the Rams is not finalized, but reports say it is somewhere in the neighborhood of $50-million dollars.
Fisher drafted Finnegan in the seventh round of the 2006 NFL draft.
It only made sense that Fisher would pursue him, as the Rams need for corners was great, but Finnegan is also “his guy”.
Last season the Rams were plagued by injuries in the secondary as both Bartell, Fletcher, and top nickel corner Jerome Murphy were lost for the season as where their back-ups, and then the back-ups after those.
In fact Bartell, the teams top corner, was cut just a few days ago after shattering a vertebrae in his neck last year.
Cutting Bartell saved St. Louis nearly $6.5 million against the cap.
By November of 2011 eight corner’s had been either injured or placed on the injured reserve list in St. Louis.
That list included Al Harris, the former Packer great, who tore his ACL on November 13th after which announcing his retirement from the NFL.
But even though the Rams signed Finnegan, corner Tracy Porter has not been ruled out as an options as it appears increasingly likely he will not be back with the New Orleans Saints next season.
Clouding the issue is that Porter’s value to the Saints defense took a nose dive in 2011 as he was replaced in the lineup by second year corner Patrick Robinson, who seemingly outplayed Porter down the stretch.
Robinson finally blossomed late in the season in Gregg Williams defense, and even though Williams is now gone, new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo likely still views Robinson as a starter alongside Jabari Greer.
But Porter is not a bad corner — a better man cover corner then zone — but he lacks the physicality needed in run support and often misses tackles completely in one-on-one situations.
He does still have value on the open market, and their are several teams who could be interested in signing him, although the most logical landing spot is with the St. Louis Rams.
Gregg Williams is no longer with the Saints after following good friend Jeff Fisher to the Rams, where he will become their new defensive coordinator — and coaches love to bring in guys with ties to there scheme.
Porter know what’s it’s like to play in William defense, once upon a time even developing into quite the threat.
In 2009, during the Saints Super Bowl run, Tracy notched four interceptions and 12 pass deflections, which were all career high numbers for the former Indiana stand out.
In the post season he famously saved the Saints in the NFC Championship game with a late interception of Vikings quarterback Brett Favre that forced overtime, where the Saints would eventually win on a Garrett Hartley field goal.
Then in the Super Bowl Porter would strike again, stepping in front of Indianapolis Colts receiver Reggie Wayne to snag a Peyton Manning pass which he ran back for a 74-yard touchdown.
The interception extended the Saints lead over the Colts and effectively closed the door on any comeback attempt.
St.Louis would also likely be more open to paying Porter like a starter than the Saints, and much like Carl Nicks, who signed a mega deal with the division rival Buccaneers, Porter will likely be swayed by the all mighty dollar.