The New Orleans Saints are entering the 2021 NFL season with a wave of uncertainty surrounding the two starting cornerback positions. Marshon Lattimore is the clear No. 1 and one of the most talented CBs around the league, but he might get hit with a suspension stemming from an arrest earlier this offseason.
That leaves the Saints trying to plug up a cracked dam with a couple of bandaids.
And that crack isn’t getting any smaller.
On Tuesday, veteran CB and projected starter Patrick Robinson announced his retirement, making the Saints’ most glaring hole an even deeper one than before.
Cornerback is a dire need for the Saints entering the season
The Saints have endured a brutal offseason in 2021.
They lost longtime franchise quarterback Drew Brees to retirement in March. Then, once free agency opened up, New Orleans said goodbye to Trey Hendrickson, Emmanuel Sanders, and Jared Cook, among others. And if things weren’t going poorly enough, Michael Thomas now sounds as if he wants out, too.
One of the Saints’ biggest losses was the departure of Janoris Jenkins, who signed with the Tennessee Titans earlier this offseason. The veteran CB started 13 games for New Orleans last year and recorded 12 passes defended and three interceptions.
Jenkins left a troubling hole in the secondary opposite Lattimore — a hole Robinson was expected to fill. But that won’t be happening after his latest announcement.
Patrick Robinson retires from the NFL
Even after losing Jenkins in free agency, the Saints were in decent shape at the cornerback position with Lattimore and Robinson on either side. But Lattimore still faces a looming question mark about his status for Week 1.
Back in March, the Ohio State product was arrested and charged with receiving stolen property after police found him in possession of a stolen gun. He was later released after posting bond, but he’s still awaiting word from the NFL regarding a possible suspension.
With Lattimore’s status for the start of the season in doubt, the Saints have been scrambling to find cornerback help. Now, they’ll have to ramp up those efforts even more.
On Tuesday, Robinson announced his retirement from the NFL at age 33, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported in a tweet. The veteran CB played eight of his 11 pro seasons in New Orleans, and the team was counting on him to fill a need on the outside. It’s now possible the Saints will be down both of the starting corners they entered the offseason with, which firmly puts them in desperation mode just one month away from the season opener.
The biggest hole on the Saints roster just got even deeper
With Robinson stepping away from football and Lattimore’s status uncertain for the start of the season, New Orleans isn’t in an enviable spot at the cornerback position. The Saints did sign veterans Prince Amukamara and Brian Poole this offseason, but neither is an above-average starter at this point in their careers.
New Orleans likes rookie third-round pick Paulson Adebo as a promising future contributor. However, he most likely isn’t ready to step in and start on day one. The rest of the CB room is currently made up of Keith Washington Jr., P.J. Williams, Ken Crawley, and Lawrence Woods. C.J. Gardner-Johnson and Grant Haley primarily play in the nickel spot.
There’s a strong possibility the Saints will start making some calls to bolster their CB depth. C.J. Henderson, the first-round draft pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars last year, could be a potential name to watch in the trade market.
With just a month left until the start of the season, the Saints better start dialing.