New Orleans Saints should target Eagles’ Malcolm Jenkins

(Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images)
(Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia Eagles have decided to let strong safety Malcolm Jenkins leave the organization after six seasons. Could he find a way to return to head coach Sean Payton with the New Orleans Saints?

The former Ohio State Buckeye came to the New Orleans Saints in 2009 as a first-round draft pick.

Jenkins joined a Saints defense that had a slew of playmakers in Darren Sharper, Roman Harper, Tracy Porter, Will Smith, Charles Grant, Scott Shanle, Scott Fujita, Jonathan Vilma and many more.

The New Orleans Saints captured a Lombardi Trophy his rookie season with their 31-17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. Jenkins would emerge as a leader on the defense, snagging six interceptions and 275 tackles over five seasons as a Saint.

After the 2013 season, Jenkins signed a three-year, $16.25 million deal with the Philadelphia Eagles, as the New Orleans Saints decided to pry Pro Bowl free safety Jairus Byrd from the Buffalo Bills for a six-year, $56 million contract.

The Saints would regret that signing and would release Byrd after three disappointing seasons.

Coincidentally, the Saints missed the playoffs those three seasons after Jenkins left the organization, and the Philadelphia Eagles won Super Bowl LII as Jenkins earned his second ring.

Now the question comes as the 2020 season approaches, do the Saints go after Jenkins for a reunion?

Head coach Sean Payton have said several times before that letting Jenkins go was a mistake he wished he could have back.

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"“I said this and I just said it recently, probably one of the bigger mistakes we’ve made. You gotta be able to look at them and say, ‘how did that happen?’ But letting him out of the building certainly wasn’t a smart decision.” – Sean Payton on Malcolm Jenkins’ release from the New Orleans Saints"

So now is his chance with quarterback Drew Brees running out of chances to win another ring and a roster filled with talent across the board that hasn’t found its way back to the Super Bowl in over a decade.

Before the 2016 season, Jenkins received a contract extension that was worth $35 million over four seasons.

The Eagles voided his contract for 2020, the last year of the deal, making him a free agent after six seasons in Philadelphia.

With Jenkins making around $8.75 million with the Eagles after his extension, perhaps the Saints would be open to bringing him back to New Orleans on a team-friendly deal.

For other players in the secondary, like late season-pickups in cornerback Janoris Jenkins, safety D. J. Swearinger and a Saints veteran in free agent safety Vonn Bell, they could fill the depth chart in case a starter were to go down with an injury.

The team also did not pick up cornerback Eli Apple’s option in 2020, making him a free agent, so the Saints will have to cut ties with a player and it may have to be Apple.

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The most important thing at this point is to preserve cap space to keep the talent on this roster heading into 2020.