The contract contains $10.5 million in guaranteed money. Additionally, per Nakia Hogan of the Times-Picayune, Lewis will receive a $6 million signing bonus. As a former third-round pick, Lewis made a career-high $1.26 million last year in his fourth year in the league—he will average over four times that per year in New Orleans.
Shortly after the Lewis news broke, Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times tweeted that Lewis may have turned down a bigger offer in order to return home to New Orleans.
Keenan Lewis is going home, and he turned down a bigger offer from another undisclosed team, source says. Love homecoming stories!— Sean Jensen (@seankjensen) March 14, 2013
As Jeff Duncan of the Times-Picayune pointed out, Lewis—along with Mike Wallace—is a graduate of O. Perry Walker High School.
Keenan Lewis & Mike Wallace signed contracts in past 3 days for $37.5M guaranteed. Nice reward for the former O. Perry Walker HS teammates.— Jeff Duncan (@JeffDuncanTP) March 14, 2013
Mike Wallace—who recently signed a 5-year, $60 million contract with the Miami Dolphins—later tweeted out congratulations to his high school classmate.
Congrats to my bro @keenanlewis23 on his new deal.. It's our time— Mike Wallace (@Wallace17_daKid) March 14, 2013
Keenan Lewis will provide a much-needed physical cover corner for New Orleans next season. The durable Lewis started in every game for Pittsburgh last year during his breakout season. Further, the Steelers are losing their fourth leading tackler in Lewis. The former Oregon State standout amassed 71 tackles and 23 passes defensed last year at left cornerback.
Pittsburgh ranked No.1 in the league in pass defense last year, while the New Orleans Saints ranked No. 31. Hopefully Keenan Lewis will help lead Rob Ryan's effort to improve the worst defense in the history of the NFL.
Surprisingly, this signing has not silenced the "Nnamdi Asomugha to New Orleans" talk. Chris Wesseling of NFL.com still addressed the possibility of the Saints signing Asomugha in his article on the Keenan Lewis signing—citing Rob Ryan's preference for press cornerbacks.
Asomugha aside, SI.com graded the signing an "A" for the Saints.
Grade: A. Nothing about the financial aspect of this deal stands out in a negative light—Lewis landed right in line with the CB signings of the past 24 hours, and he might be better than any other defensive back to sign in that time.
Overall, a good start to free agency for New Orleans.