One of the best things that happened for the New Orleans Saints in 2023 was the development of cornerback Paulson Adebo. Being in New Orleans since being drafted by the team in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft, fans watched Adebo grow into a solid corner. While he has been starting since he entered the league, this past season was undoubtedly his best football yet.
In a recent PFF piece by Zoltán Buday, looking at the most improved player on each team, Paulson Adebo was highlighted for the Saints. Buday pointed out how Adebo’s PFF grade went from 49.1 in 2022 to 78.7 in 2023. It was also noted that Adebo recorded three straight weeks with grades over 90.0 during Weeks 8-10. Beyond the grades, Adebo was praised for forcing 19 incompletions, tied for the most of all cornerbacks.
Playing in 15 games, Adebo also recorded 76 tackles, four interceptions, and two forced fumbles. He has now elevated his profile and will enter next season with higher expectations. However, there’s a question of if Adebo will still be with New Orleans next season.
Should Saints trade Paulson Adebo?
After this standout season, Adebo now has one year remaining on his rookie contract. That’s partly why Bleacher Report thinks he could be traded this offseason. In a recent piece looking at possible trades that could happen this offseason, Bleacher Report pointed out how New Orleans typically loses good players in free agency because the franchise is perpetually in a bad cap situation. Instead of losing Adebo next offseason for nothing, BR says it would make sense for the Saints to trade him now and get something in return.
That's not a bad idea, but it’s also not something that New Orleans should be jumping to do. A team should never just surrender and give a promising player away. A decision to trade Paulson Adebo would essentially be the Saints saying there’s no way they can re-sign him. If that’s actually the case, and the Saints don’t view themselves as contenders next season, then trading him would make sense.
However, New Orleans has shown time and time again that it knows how to do cap space magic. If there’s a path to creating space to re-sign Paulson Adebo, the Saints should explore that path instead of just trading him away.