Saints Free Agency

Five Best Fits Among Free Agent Cornerbacks

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Nov 8, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints cornerback Delvin Breaux (40) against the Tennessee Titans during the first half of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 8, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints cornerback Delvin Breaux (40) against the Tennessee Titans during the first half of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports /

The New Orleans Saints still need to add some cornerback depth before the draft. Fortunately, there are a lot of names left on the board.

The New Orleans Saints have been inexplicably silent on the cornerback front among the league’s top free agents. As no top-tier pass-rushers hit the open market, the team has plenty of cap space to make a big signing in the secondary. Yet they’ve watched A.J. Bouye, Stephone Gilmore, Logan Ryan and others ink contracts without so much as a whiff of interest.

That doesn’t mean that the Saints have no plans to make some moves at cornerback. And while I’d have liked them to make a move on one of these top-end talents, I’m fine with them going the mid-level route. Assuming they can land a few solid players, they’ll have the depth needed as insurance for the oft-injured corners already on the roster.

Theoretically, the Saints don’t need to find any starters this offseason. Theoretically. Delvin Breaux is a bonafide CB1, and P.J. Williams is a solid presence as a CB2. Damian Swann was a very good slot corner in his rookie year.

But take a look at those names. I know you’ve already had your gut reaction. Damian Swann? The Saints have absolutely no business counting on Swann to produce at any point in the future. If he does, wonderful. But the Saints can’t rely on it. The same can be said of P.J. Williams, who seems fully recovered but who suffered a terrifying concussion that puts his career in jeopardy. The Saints can count on Breaux’s recovery to some extent, but besides that they are dangerously thin at the position.

Fortunately, there are plenty of corners still available. And no, I’m not talking about P.Rob.

Here’s one of my early favorites for the Saints to sign:

Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports /

Alterraun Verner

The Saints are intimately familiar with Verner, who spent the last three years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Bucs signed Verner to a decently lucrative contract in 2014 after he was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2013. A fourth-round pick, Verner was thrust into the starting lineup early in his rookie season and immediately showed promise. In 2013 he led the league with 23 passes defended, and earned himself a 4-year, $25M contract in Tampa.

Unfortunately, Verner took time to come into his own as a Buc. He struggled through the early part of the 2014 season and was benched in 2015. The Buccaneers signed Brent Grimes and drafted standout CB Vernon Hargreaves, and eventually deemed Verner expendable. They cut him this offseason, saving themselves $6M.

Verner would come at a relatively cheap asking price for a player of his potential. The Saints have done well evaluating CB talent from the Buccaneers, demonstrated by the emergence of Sterling Moore who came to New Orleans from Tampa Bay.

Verner is a stout run-supporter and an opportunistic cover CB. The Saints struggled to turn PDs into INTs last season, and Verner could help with that in a big way. Relegating him to CB2 duties behind Breaux could also help Verner come back to his days of former glory. It’s up to the Saints to determine if Verner is a fit, but if he is he’d be a great value signing.

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