The New Orleans Saints are visiting with veteran cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and this makes sense for both sides. The Saints, of course, are in the market for another cornerback after losing Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple in free agency and Kirkpatrick would give them the veteran presence they’re in search of at the position.
Kirkpatrick, a former first-round pick by the Bengals in 2012, spent the first eight years of his career in Cincinnati before moving to Arizona for the 2020 season. He matched his career-high in interceptions with three and appeared in 14 games for the Cardinals last year.
The Saints haven’t been shy when it comes to inquiring about cornerbacks on the market. They’ve consistently been linked to Richard Sherman and now, at least we’re seeing them actively meeting with corners and trying to beef up the position a little more.
The New Orleans Saints are meeting with Dre Kirkpatrick.
According to Brenden Ertle of Canal Street Chronicles,
"Kirkpatrick played in man coverage 43.3% of the time last season allowing a 66% completion percentage with two touchdowns and an interception. When in zone coverage 53.4% of the time, he surrendered a 64.9% completion percentage when targeted with no touchdowns and two interceptions. The Ex-Bengals CB played 8 seasons with Cincinnati tallying 10 interceptions and 302 tackles."
While the Saints have Marshon Lattimore, Patrick Robinson, and rookie Paulson Adebo in their cornerback room as of now, adding someone like Kirkpatrick makes sense. He isn’t the same player he once was early in his career but he’s still a serviceable option and this is a team that needs depth at cornerback.
The Saints didn’t address corner until the third round of the draft where they landed Adebo out of Stanford. The team has high hopes for Adebo and for good reason, but he’s a rookie. Adding another cornerback is a smart move and Kirkpatrick is one of the better options available at the position.
Sherman would still probably be most Saints fans’ picks as the veteran cornerback to bring in but Kirkpatrick has nine years of NFL experience under his belt and he’s only 31 years old. There’s still plenty left in the tank.
The only thing to think of here, and it’ll be the case with just about any free agent, is the cost. It’s no secret that New Orleans doesn’t have much cap space and if they sign Kirkpatrick, what will the corresponding roster move be?
For now, this is just a visit. After all, Kirkpatrick left the Patriots without signing a deal so maybe he leaves the Big Easy without a contract in place.
If he does sign, however, the Saints will be adding a player at a position of need.