Opinion: Why New Orleans Saints signing Malcolm Jenkins is the wrong move
By the end of the day Wednesday, the New Orleans Saints should have a new face in the secondary.
As first reported by Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Malcolm Jenkins and the New Orleans Saints are nearing a deal. The veteran was informed by the Eagles that the team option on his contract would not be exercised.
Sean Payton is excited about bringing back his former first-rounder. Payton has noted, on several occasions, that letting Jenkins walk back in 2014 was a colossal mistake. Jenkins departed after not even receiving an offer from New Orleans, leaving many fans scratching their heads.
Many fans will be elated at the concept of their once-darling returning to stack the Saint’s secondary. However, bringing back Jenkins may be a rush to judgment and not the best move.
Coach Payton has spoken highly of Jenkins on more than one occasion since his departure.
"“He was probably one of the most important parts to our Super Bowl run,” Payton said. “And that was only his rookie season. He’s one of my guys, and I mean that. Probably one of the bigger mistakes that we’ve made, and you have to ask yourself ‘how did that happen?’ Letting him out of the building certainly wasn’t a smart decision.”"
Payton is spot on with his assertion that letting Jenkins walk was a horrible decision. No one would disagree with that sentiment.
However, that doesn’t automatically qualify Jenkins for a ticket back to the Big Easy. The Saints are under no obligation to right any wrongs. Jenkins has been terrific as an Eagle, and hasn’t stopped evolving as a player, but at 32 years old, it’s more than likely his best days are behind him.
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The Saints already have a developing young safety in Vonn Bell, who played lights-out last season and still has plenty left in the tank.
And if the Saints weren’t as sold on Bell as this writer is, there are plenty of younger options on the market, such as Justin Simmons or Anthony Harris.
Now, plenty of players have been successful in later stages of their career like Jenkins has.
The Saints, more than likely, aren’t looking for a superstar, but rather a solid backfield anchor that can keep the younger Bell, Marcus Williams, and especially the volatile Marshon Lattimore in check, in a way that Kurt Coleman never could.
Adding Jenkins could solidify the young Saint’s secondary into a much more organized, disciplined unit.
But the Saints should take a look at their own history. Reuniting with past standouts has almost never panned out in Coach Payton’s tenure.
Whether it be Robert Meachem or Patrick Robinson, the Saints seem to have never gotten the same return betting on ghosts. Additionally, they’ve made big bets on big-name safeties that blown up in their faces quickly, namely Brandon Browner and Jairus Byrd.
Resigning Malcolm Jenkins isn’t the worst move to be made, but it certainly does feel like a move made with too much haste. While the details of Jenkin’s contract aren’t yet apparent, let’s hope there’s plenty of money left over to keep the Saints in play for the remainder of free agency.