NOLA Saints: Malcolm Jenkins is the most overpaid player on the roster
With the No. 14 overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints selected Malcolm Jenkins out of Ohio State. Jenkins spent the first five years of his career with the Saints before signing with the Eagles and playing there for the next six years.
Jenkins’ first stint in New Orleans resulted in a Super Bowl ring during his rookie season and he won a second Super Bowl during his stint with the Eagles. Jenkins was at the top of his game during his tenure in the City of Brotherly Love and it made sense that the Saints wanted to get him back in the Big Easy following the 2019 campaign.
The Saints wanted Jenkins back so badly that they dished out a ton of money to do so, signing him to a four-year deal worth $32 million to get him back to New Orleans. As a result, Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report wrote that Jenkins is the most overpaid player on the Saints’ roster. Here’s more from Knox:
"Jenkins is still a starting-caliber safety—don’t get that wrong. He started all 16 games last season and tied for a career-high three interceptions. However, he is 33 years old and no longer the elite defender he once was.In 2020, Jenkins allowed 504 receiving yards in coverage and three touchdowns. He also had seven missed tackles.An $8 million annual salary isn’t excessive for a strong safety, but it’s a lot for one nearing the back end of his career. Jenkins will only carry a cap hit of $5.1 million this season, but he still has $13 million in dead money on his deal."
Jenkins is most definitely a good player and means a lot to the organization but dishing out $32 million to a then-32-year-old safety wasn’t the best investment for the Saints. He was durable last year and was a good player but as Knox notes, it wasn’t all sunshine and sprinkles for his return to the team that drafted him.
The NOLA Saints overpaid Malcolm Jenkins.
Getting Jenkins back was a move that the Saints hoped would improve their secondary and while he didn’t miss a game in his return to the Big Easy, this is a deal that is going to be tough to stomach down the road.
Knox notes in the article that the Saints’ soonest reasonable opportunity to get rid of Jenkins will be a year from now but even then, they’ll have to eat $7.9 million. The following year, they’d have to eat $4 million in dead money.
Saints fans appreciate Malcolm Jenkins and everything he’s done for the team during his now six years in the black and gold, but this wasn’t a contract New Orleans needed to make.