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The Saints should reconsider re-signing cornerback Delvin Breaux

It is clear that Delvin Breaux wants to remain a New Orleans Saint, and the Saints should want the same.

New York Giants v New Orleans Saints
Delvin Breaux #40 of the New Orleans Saints reacts after an incomplete pass against the New York Giants at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 1, 2015, in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

There once was a time when the Saints were desperate at cornerback. It was not simply a position of need, New Orleans was absolutely desperate. Then came Keenan Lewis, a hometown hero, looking to be the number one cornerback the Saints lacked. He was perfect for the Saints. He played at O. Perry Walker in High School, he had great size and speed, he was 26, and he was a part of a great defense as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Saints brass said at the time that he was one of their top free agent targets that offseason. The Saints fan base was extremely hopeful, and Lewis rewarded that hope in the first year with incredible cornerback play. After the first few seasons, things began to sour and the Saints never truly were able to see the Pro Bowl production they envisioned when they signed him. The divorce was public, bitter, and lasting as the Saints never pursued a reunion with Lewis.

The expectations were much lower for Canadian Football League standout Delvin Breaux. Even though, among scouts in the league, Breaux was a very highly sought after player. Prior to meeting with the Saints, Breaux had numerous workouts set up with other NFL teams. Sean Payton, however, fell in love with the young corner. And after his workout with the Saints, he made sure he did not leave the team’s facilities without signing a contract.

Going into the 2015 season, The Saints believed that they were going to be incredibly stacked in the secondary. They signed Lewis two years prior, they signed Super Bowl Champion cornerback Brandon Browner, started to see signs of life from P.J. Williams, and had Delvin Breaux to provide depth. Once signed, Breaux worked his way up the depth chart in training camp and quickly showed that he possessed all the skills needed to be a starting cornerback for the Saints.

Once Lewis went down during the preseason, Breaux took over as the starter and had a very admirable season. During that season, Breaux was put on an island with some of the NFL’s best receivers, and more than held his own in those matchups. Saints fans immediately embraced Breaux, and at times during that season it felt like Breaux-mania.

Delvin Breaux was a breath of fresh air, and his personality was infectious. His love for his hometown was evident. Breaux’s story was one of hope and perseverance that made him one of the most likable individuals on the team. If you’re a Saints fan, you know that he played for McDonough 35 High School and was headed to LSU prior to a horrific injury that completely altered his football story. He was never able to play for LSU, and went on an incredible “long odds” tour before ending up with dream realizing workout with the New Orleans Saints.

Breaux’s tour included semi-pro football, the AFL, and the CFL. So, his rookie season with the Saints was remarkably and pleasantly surprising for fans. Unfortunately, every season after that initial year with the black and gold has been marred by injury. Though Breaux’s attitude remained positive through the setbacks, the Saints brass lost patience waiting for the potential the New Orleans native showed in his first season to turn into consistent elite-level productivity.

Breaux is currently a unrestricted free agent after the Saints refused to put a tender on him or do anything to ensure they retain his services for next season. Breaux has taken visits to the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots, but remains firmly hopeful that he can return to the Saints. Until now, the Saints have made no public statement or moves that indicate they have interest in re-signing Breaux. However, the Saints are not in the position they were going into the last offseason — they are in no way desperate at cornerback. The Saints now have a young Pro Bowl cornerback in Marshon Lattimore. They also have great depth at the position with Ken Crawley, P.J. Williams, and recently signed (or is it re-signed) Patrick Robinson.

Does it make sense for the Saints to re-sign Delvin Breaux? Some fans believe it absolutely makes sense. Count me among those fans. It is rare to find a player in the NFL so willing to unashamedly show outright passion for a city and team, even after the team shows them they can survive without them.

To the Saints brass, moving on from Breaux is a business decision. A move they are making based on roster depth and available cap-space. However, for Delvin Breaux, staying available for a possible reunion with the New Orleans Saints is a heart decision. “Chip” as he has been so fondly known among Saints fans, LOVES New Orleans. This is his hometown, and it gives him great joy to cheer for the team when he is not playing and help the team achieve its goals with his play.

Breaux has remained in love with the team even after the Saints team doctors put his career in jeopardy with a horribly embarrassing misdiagnosis of a severe fibula injury. Breaux still wanted to be a Saint, even after the team floated his name around the league looking for trade offers. At this very moment, as the team sets their focus on upgrading the roster talent while ignoring Breaux’s availability, Breaux still remains hopeful that the New Orleans Saints will give him another chance to make a return on the investment they made in him.

The Saints do not have a lot of time to make this move. Breaux has drawn interest from two teams. The Patriots are quite familiar with Breaux, based on their joint practices with the Saints during the 2016 offseason of dominance for Breaux. The Saints are seemingly in a great place in the secondary, but it is in their best interest to re-sign Breaux.

Breaux provides incredible depth for a team that is extremely prone to injury in the secondary. The Saints lost both Lattimore and Crawley prior to one of the most important games of the season last year against the Rams. They were in no position to challenge the Rams after those injuries. At worst case, Breaux is a starting cornerback who has the ability to fill-in in the secondary in case of an injury. At his absolute best, Breaux has the ability to be a Pro Bowl cornerback opposite of Lattimore. If the Saints are interested in being their absolute best next season, they should re-think their position on Breaux.