Throughout the offseason, New Orleans Saints brass including head coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis referred to the cornerback position as “a must.” No mixed words, instead full assured that this position would have to be shored up before the beginning of the 2021 season. On Wednesday, the Saints made that must a reality trading for former Denver Broncos and Houston Texans cornerback Bradley Roby.
As Ian Rapoport of NFL Network said, Roby will not be available Week 1 against the Green Bay Packers, but he will be able to take the field with his new team Week 2 against the Carolina Panthers. Currently, we don’t know the full terms of the trade.
What Roby brings the Saints is experience and certainty. Many of us have been noting that Saints cornerback Ken Crawley has looked very good throughout the preseason and training camp. None of that was overblown. However, the biggest question mark that no one can answer until we see it is whether or not that production would translate to regular season action.
Now, the New Orleans doesn’t have to embrace uncertainty in order to find out what they have opposite their star cornerback Marshon Lattimore. Instead, once Roby becomes available Week 2, they’ll have a bonafide starter at the second boundary spot.
Doing some scouting academy homework and I came across this play. Still in the 1st qtr but Texans have been playing pretty much straight man across the board. This is extremely impressive by Bradley Roby to play catch vs Hill and undercut the route. Staying square vs a speedster pic.twitter.com/KoE72iK90o— Big CROCKY⚡️ (@eric_crocker) August 1, 2020
Roby fits in, playing various coverage schemes throughout his career, and finding success as a scheme versatile player. Exactly the type the Dennis Allen needs and likes in his system.
According to Pro Football Focus, Roby brings with him a career completion percentage against of only 60.8% along with 10 interceptions and 54 career PBUs.
In his ten games last year with the Texans he played in man coverage 34.1% of the time allowing a completion percentage of only 56.4. forcing incompletions on 25% of his targets in man. He did allow, however, a 107.8 passer rating and two touchdowns.
In zone, he performed extremely well even though he allowed a larger completion percentage, he came away with an interception and no touchdowns allowed with a nice pass rating surrendered of only 69.6.
Again, Roby won’t be available Week 1 against a fiery Packers passing offense, but he’ll be able to get started in the black and gold just in time for another big test in Joe Brady’s Panthers scheme that may or may not have the weapons it needs.
A welcome addition to the team who also recently added former Atlanta Falcons corner Desmond Trufant and have taken their boundary cornerback spot from depleted to deep.
Bradley Roby's best quote as a Texan came when he was asked how he felt about starting the season with a suspension.— Aaron Reiss (@aaronjreiss) September 8, 2021
“It will be tough," he said, "but they added that extra game on, so I'm still playing 16."
Roby should carry a cap hit of around $9M to the Saints, who may have to move some money around to make the numbers work. He’ll also have a deep hit of $10M next season but none of that figure is guaranteed. If he performs well, he could be a prime candidate for restructure or extension after the 2021 season wraps up, or the Saints could move his money around to make room for him this season.
Update: September 9 at 9:35 AM CT
According to recent reports, the Houston Texans are helping to facilitate the trade of Bradley Roby to the New Orleans Saints by taking on about $7.6M of Roby’s $9M+ deal.
In order to facilitate a trade to the Saints, the Texans converted ~$7.6M of CB Bradley Roby's base salary into a signing bonus, per source.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) September 9, 2021
When Roby officially gets traded to New Orleans, his base salary for 2021 is now $1,862,645, which fits into the Saints' cap space.
This will help to make Roby’s contract compliant with the Saints’ salary cap availability.
In return, one must assume the Saints will send back some valuable draft capital. Some have suggested multiple picks this year, which makes sense. I personally suspect something like a 3rd and 4th round pick from 2022 heading to Houston.
New Orleans has two third round picks, after compensatory thirds in 2021 and 2022 follow Terry Fontenot’s hire to the Atlanta Falcons and will be in line for further comp picks at the season’s end as well. They have the draft compensation to work with.
This piece will continue to be updated when trade compensation is announced.
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