In the span of three weeks, the New Orleans Saints secondary took two knock-out punches to the stomach. They saw the first one coming: safety Marcus Williams had outpriced his stay in NOLA and was poised to walk in free agency. The other, however, totally blindsided them.
Malcolm Jenkins’ decision to retire in 2022 leaves the Saints threadbare at the safety position, despite the recent addition of free agent Daniel Sorensen.
Replacing the player who led your team in defensive snaps last season is no easy feat, and we’re going to come right out and say Sorensen is not a suitable stand-in.
The most obvious path for New Orleans now is to also sign Sorensen’s more talented teammate, Tyrann Mathieu, as a plug-and-play replacement for Jenkins. But if Mathieu is asking for Jamal Adams-level money, the Saints may not be able to afford him and must consider other options.
They could re-sign P.J. Williams, move Ceedy Duce from the slot to a strong safety role, or pick up a starting-caliber talent in the 2022 NFL Draft, perhaps Kyle Hamilton if he miraculously falls down to No. 18.
With a bit of money to spend after the whole Deshaun Watson debacle (phew), the Saints may also sift through free agency for quality remaining safeties, and we’ve handpicked the best options based on potential fit, talent, and overall value.
Here are three free agent safeties not named Tyrann Mathieu that the NOLA Saints can target to fill Malcolm Jenkins’ role in 2022.