Continuing with our Free Agency Preview series, I will attempt to address another big weakness for the Saints defense, this time on the back end.
The Saints defense got torched to the tune of 4,157 yards through the air last season, along with 24 touchdown passes against. Those stats look even worse when you consider that they were only able to force 9 interceptions. Currently, only three corners are signed to the active roster for next year: Jabari Greer, Patrick Robinson, and Johnny Patrick. Not terrible, but considering Patrick played in only 9 games his rookie season, and only had 6 tackles (all coming in the final three games), adding a veteran for depth is probably a good idea.
Saints Cornerback Depth Chart Last Year: Jabari Greer, Tracy Porter, Patrick Robinson, Johnny Patrick. Porter is a free agent this year, and is not a sure thing to be re-signed.
The Free Agent: Tracy Porter. The name will forever be loved by Saints fans. After a magical 2009 postseason, Porter sealed the team’s first ever Super Bowl win with a pick six off of the great Peyton Manning. Unfortunately, that’s been the end of the magic for Tracy. His play has seen a considerable drop off the past two years. Second year player Patrick Robinson showed much more consistency this season, which just may have been the last nail in Porter’s coffin. Unless he is willing to give a big-time hometown discount, don’t expect to see him in the black and gold next year.
The Rest of the Roster: Jabari Greer has been the team’s best corner since being signed in the 2009 off-season. He consistently shuts down the opponents No. 1 receiver, and looks comfortable doing it too. Going into his third year, Patrick Robinson has really started to come into his own, playing a lot of time opposite the No. 2 receivers this year. Once he learns how to hold on to a ball (NCMF), he should be able to corral more than the four interceptions he grabbed this year. Johnny Patrick is a relative unknown, seeing as he only appeared in 9 games last season.
One sentence free agency prediction: Tracy Porter wants too much money, and he gets it somewhere else; meanwhile, a cheap veteran is brought in to play nickel.