The New Orleans Saints continue to work their way under the newly finalized $182.5M ($185.5M adjusted) salary cap. In doing so, they have decided to part ways with veteran cornerback Janoris Jenkins.
The #Saints have informed CB Janoris “Jackrabbit” Jenkins that they are releasing him, source said. He was due $11.2M this year, with a cap hit of $14.2M.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 11, 2021
The cut saves the Saints $7M against the cap. The Saints have made significant progress knocking down their deficit, but are also now left without an immediate option opposite Marshon Lattimore, who the Saints are interested in extending. This was one of the more unexpected cuts for me. We all knew it was an option, especially with that savings, but retaining pieces on the secondary felt like it might be a major emphasis for the Saints.
Jenkins was claimed off of waivers by New Orleans near the end of the 2019 season after he was waived by the New York Giants following an inappropriate remark on Twitter. Soon after his arrival in the Big Easy, he found his way to the field after some late-season injuries hit the secondary. He eventually became the team’s starting cornerback in 2020 after the Saints moved on from fellow former Giant Eli Apple.
In his 13 games last season, Jenkins had three 55 combines tackles, three interceptions, and a touchdown return to open play against the NFC South rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He provided the Saints with experience and skill across from Lattimore, creating a tandem central to Dennis Allen’s defense. After a few years of searching for the right piece across from one of their outstanding 2017 draft class selections, the Saints are back to square one unless a reunion between the team and Jenkins were to take place.
However, considering some of the accounting measures the Saints took to move on from the 10-year vet, that reunion may not be in the stars.
More cap fun: Since Janoris Jenkins had a $1.2M fully guaranteed roster bonus, it would’ve accelerated upon being cut. So NO turned it into a signing bonus, spread it out over 2 years… and saved themselves an additional $600K against the cap #loomis https://t.co/LNEOk6Psan— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 11, 2021
Jenkins should have a market in free agency. He sits tied with the fifth-highest total interception touchdowns on all-time charts with eight and is a noted ballhawk. Both of those traits he put on full display in New Orleans. He finished 2020 with six pass break ups, only allowing a 60% catch rate, and surrendered only an 81.5 passer rating when targeted according to Pro Football Focus.
The Saints are now left with their biggest self-manufactured roster hole with this move. It will be interesting to see how they address it.
Do they go to the free agency market with the clout of Kris Richard at the head of the defensive backs group? Do they go out of character due to the circumstances and wait for the draft? Is there a young corner the Saints are ready to give a shot? The world knows I’m ready for Keith Washington II to get his opportunity in the NFL. Will more cuts be made to this position group? The Saints can save another $2.6M by moving on from another veteran corner Patrick Robinson who actually played very well last season when called into action on the outside. As did outgoing free agent P.J. Williams.
The cornerback position will be a fascinating one to continue to watch as free agency creeps nearer, just a handful of days away from teams being able to contact outside free agents.
Who do you think replaces Jackrabbit? Let us know in the comments below. Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, on Instagram @SaintsCSC, “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, and make sure you’re subscribed to our new YouTube channel.