This free agency, the Saints lost much more than they gained and saw top-caliber players like Terron Armstead and Marcus Williams find new homes. Williams’ departure left a giant hole in New Orleans’ secondary, and the Saints were at one point linked to two Kansas City Chiefs’ free agent defenders, Daniel Sorensen and Tyrann Mathieu.
NOLA ended up picking Sorensen, or “Dirty Dan,” as fans affectionately call him, though Mathieu was widely considered the superior choice.
As one of the best safeties in the league, Mathieu wanted to get paid Jamal Adams money, and the Saints were simply not willing to go that high. That line of reasoning makes sense. Signing Sorensen as Plan B, however, does not.
New Orleans Saints shoot themselves in the foot with Daniel Sorensen signing
The details of Sorensen’s contract have yet to be revealed, but we do know it’s a one-year deal. Given that Sorensen played on a one-year contract in 2021 which was worth around $2.5 million dollars, we’d expect a similar salary for Sorensen in NOLA.
Compared to Mathieu’s market value of $15 million a year, Sorensen offers a bargain-bin alternative that barely makes a dent in the Saints’ cap space. Yet Sorensen also brings with him a spotty history of inconsistent performances, and at 31-years-old, the defensive back is well past his prime and steeply in decline.
If signing Sorensen was an attempt to replace Marcus Williams, the Saints completely failed. Of the two, Tyrann Mathieu would be the only logical plug-and-play replacement for Williams, and if NOLA suffers a blow to their pass defense this upcoming season, not negotiating with Mathieu may become one of their biggest regrets.
The numbers don’t lie — Mathieu is the younger, more reliable, more consistent, and more productive safety, beating Sorensen in nearly every defensive category for 2021.
While the Saints didn’t necessarily make a mistake by passing on Mathieu, they did make an egregious one by signing Sorensen instead.
Even going big for a special playmaker like Mathieu would have been a more sensible (albeit gutsier) move than pushing pennies for a defensive liability who can’t be trusted on the field.
After a quiet first wave of free agency, NOLA needs to take a daring risk this offseason — maybe Mathieu wasn’t the right player to bet on, but Sorensen definitely isn’t the answer.