The New Orleans Saints are still courting cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, and according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Asomugha has narrowed his choice down to New Orleans or the San Francisco 49ers.
These were two distinctively different defenses in 2012. The 49ers were the "haves," the Saints the "have nots."
Because it’s such a tight race, and also because it makes good business sense, the Saints are still working on a “Plan B” in case Asomugha chooses the 49ers. One of those choices for “Plan B” is Tracy Porter, who has tasted heroic success in New Orleans
Pass-rush specialist Junior Galette spilled the beans via Twitter on Monday that Porter was visiting with the Saints.
Porter put the icing on the Super Bowl XLIV cake for the Saints in 2010 when he picked off a terrible, fourth quarter Peyton Manning pass and returned it to the house for a 74-yard pick-6 with just over three minutes to play. Indianapolis was driving at the time and only down by one score. Porter’s pick was a pivotal moment.
Super Bowl memories aside, Porter isn’t the right free-agent cornerback for the Saints at this moment. Antoine Winfield would be a much better option, but he might not be available too much longer.
Winfield is visiting with the Washington Redskins on Wednesday, according to the Washington Post, and both sides have been talking for weeks, as reported by Chris Russell of ESPN Radio 980 in Washington DC.
Larry Holder of the Times-Picayune spoke with Winfield’s agent, Ashanti Webb, a few weeks back and learned that Webb feels his client would be a good fit in New Orleans.
Numbers tell the same story.
According to Pro Football Focus, Porter ranked No. 102 in the NFL among cornerbacks that played at least 25 percent of their teams’ snaps in coverage. Porter was in coverage for eight snaps for every reception he allowed. Winfield ranked No. 52, allowing a reception for every 10.2 coverage snaps.
While that’s a huge difference, it’s not the mammoth statistical reason why Winfield’s more attractive than Porter.
When it comes to run-stop percentage, a Pro Football Focus statistic that tackles on passing plays that go for a loss, no cornerback in the NFL last season had a better stop percentage that Winfield. Porter ranked 49th.
Anyone that watched a New Orleans game last season saw that tackling was as lost an art to the Saints as Hieroglyphics. Wouldn’t it be a better option to grab a cornerback that’s a top-notch tackler and a better cover corner?
Asomugha is still the surefire best option for the Saints, who need tons of help in their secondary. But if the Saints fail to nab him, Winfield should be “Plan B.”
Unless otherwise noted, all quotes and statements were obtained firsthand.