Nov 25, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield (26) reacts to being called for a penalty against the Chicago Bears during the second quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports
Despite signing cornerback Keenan Lewis, the New Orleans Saints have been active in trying to add more veteran depth at the position with Patrick Robinson currently penciled in as the other starter.
The Saints failed to sign both Nnamdi Asomugha and Tracy Porter, as both opted to play elsewhere next season.
Now the Saints should make a move on Antoine Winfield.
According to Ian Rapoport on Twitter, Winfield is reportedly going to choose soon between the Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks:
That doesn’t mean the Saints shouldn’t jump into the fray at the last moment.
Winfield is still an elite player, even at the age of 35. He recorded 72 total tackles and three interceptions last season alone, but was cut as a cap casualty this offseason.
If that weren’t enough proof the Saints should make a run at him, Winfield graded out as the No. 1 cornerback in football last year according to ProFootballFocus(subscription required).
Clearly Winfield would be a starter in New Orleans right away. Not only that, he’d open up the draft opportunities for the Saints in each round. With Winfield in the fold, the Saints could forgo addressing the area this season and work to improve it next year.
Winfield has been linked to the Saints recently. After his release, his agent told the media he would be interested in playing in New Orleans and that the two could be a good fit. Per Larry Holder of NOLA.com:
"If the New Orleans Saints wanted to chat with freshly released Minnesota Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield, the veteran defensive back would be interested, according to Winfield’s agent Ashanti Webb.“Could be a good fit,” Webb said."
“Good fit” isn’t the best way to describe it. Try “great fit” considering the Saints need a veteran presence at the position and for how much the Saints would likely have to pay Winfield, he’d be an absolute bargain.
Not only that, Winfield has the physical tools needed to soothe the defense’s transition to a 3-4 scheme. Veterans who are scheme-versatile such as Winfield are critical in that regard.
While Winfield says he is choosing between the Vikings and Seahawks, the Saints could still swoop in and steal him. Sure, Minnesota is home, but there could be some sour grapes there considering the team let him go because it didn’t want to pay him.
Seattle is a Super Bowl contender, but so are the Saints. In Seattle, Winfield wouldn’t play much thanks to Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner. In New Orleans, he’d be a starter on every down and a critical element similar to Darren Sharper a few years back as the Saints look to get to another Super Bowl.
It’s a long-shot, but the Saints need to jump into the Antoine Winfield sweepstakes at the last moment if at all possible.
— UPDATE —
Looks like the Saints missed out. According to ProFootballTalk, Antoine Winfield has officially signed with the Seattle Seahawks.
— END UPDATE —