METAIRIE, La. -- The New Orleans Saints have several major roster decisions to make before the start of the new league year and free-agent signing period on March 10. For starters, they must trim somewhere between $20 and $30 million in salary-cap space (most of which will be accomplished by converting roster bonuses into signing bonuses).
Here’s the latest in a series of 10 of the most burning questions the Saints have to answer:
Robinson, 27, is an unrestricted free agent. White, 24, is due $1.574 million in the last year of his contract. Their careers with the Saints have both been roller-coaster rides -- especially last year, when they each took turns as a starter and each took turns being benched.
The Saints have shown faith in both players' potential over the years. And Robinson bounced back last season after struggling early. But Terrence Frederick supplanted both of them as New Orleans’ No. 2 starting cornerback by the end of the year, while Robinson was the nickelback and White was moved back to his college position of safety.
Have the Saints finally run out of patience?
The answer: I expect the Saints to move on from both players. They both have talent, and they’ve both shown glimpses of ability. But the inconsistency has been frustrating, and the Saints badly need to revamp their cornerback situation.
Although the Saints’ defense struggled across the board in 2014, I’d argue that the cornerback play behind No. 1 guy Keenan Lewis was their biggest problem. They had catastrophic breakdowns in the secondary in last-minute early-season losses to Atlanta, Cleveland and Detroit. And by the end of the year, quarterbacks like Joe Flacco, Matt Ryan and Andy Dalton were fearlessly attacking the Saints’ secondary, getting rid of the ball before the pass rush ever had a chance to get there.
That’s why I believe the Saints should invest in free agency in another reliable starting cornerback across from Lewis. I know it doesn’t always work when NFL teams throw money at free agents (especially considering the Saints’ cap constraints), but some real stability at the cornerback spot could have a ripple effect throughout the entire defense.
I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Saints bring back Robinson or White if they could come at a heavy discount, because they have seen potential in both players (particularly Robinson, the first-round pick whom they’ve given ample opportunities despite his battles with injury and inconsistency). Maybe the return of former secondary coach Dennis Allen could help revive them.
More likely, though, a change of scenery might be best for both the Saints and the players.