New Orleans Saints hope bargain priced defensive backs are the answer
By Keith Null
Lately it seems the New Orleans Saints have passed on attempting to sign the bigger named free agent cornerback’s currently on the market, an odd move considering they don’t have much depth after the departure of Tracy Porter and Leigh Torrence in free agency.
Without a doubt the Saints number one and number two corners are locked in already, those jobs will belong to Jabari Greer and Patrick Robinson when the 2012 season starts.
Second year corner Johnny Patrick, a third round pick last year, should also figure prominently into the defense as a nickel corner. However his exposure in the regular season last year was limited to mainly special teams duty if and when he was activated on game day.
From there the roster is littered with undrafted, unproven players with little to no real NFL exposure. In fact all the corners on the roster, with exception to Greer, Robinson, and Parks, have no more than one year of experience in the league.
A.J. Davis (undrafted, rookie), Kamaal McIlwain (undrafted, one year), Laron Scott (undrafted, rookie), Cord Parks (undrafted, three years), and Josh Victorian (undrafted, rookie) round out the Saints secondary depth.
But what all these players have in common is cost, essentially they are all cheap.
Not all will make the final 53-man roster, but some of these players will making league base salaries of $300,000 to $400,000 dollars, or perhaps a little more.
At last check the Saints were still in a tight cap situation even after restructuring the contracts of Will Smith, Jonathan Vilma, and Jabari Greer among others.
New Orleans was just a few million under the 2012 cap as a recently as last week, and whether or not the salaries of the suspended players — Smith and Vilma — will count towards the 2012 cap number is still unclear.
Names like Drayton Florence and Justin King have been linked to the Saints, and the team did meet with Elbert Mack as well as Kelvin Hayden, but opted not to sign either player.
Realistically these corners would likely cost the Saints a few million versus the thousands their “bargain” undrafted, unproven players will — and that’s why the team has sat out any real pursuit of secondary help.
Drew Brees is still looking for a new deal, and everyone hopes the Saints are hard at work in getting it done, and a high priced corner is not a luxury the team can afford.
There is always the chance that one of these young players could emerge in training camp and prove a useful commodity.
But the modern NFL is a tough place for a young corner to attempt to find success, and then there is the “non-defendable” back shoulder throw that is becoming common place for many NFL teams.
Good corners are hard to find.