Saints Should Sign DeAngelo Hall Cautiously

Paul DavisCorrespondent INovember 5, 2008

With the dysfunctional Oakland Raiders releasing two-time Pro Bowl cornerback DeAngelo Hall after just eight games, the New Orleans Saints should proceed to sign him with caution. 

Hall knows the NFC South well after playing dominant defense his first four seasons in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons.  But with the Raiders, he has become the frequent target for opposing quarterbacks by giving up the third-most receptions in the NFL this season.

Hall is, unfortunately, has also been known to run his mouth and have an attitude problem.  He could be a locker room problem, but the same was said about Jeremy Shockey and he has quickly become one of the leaders on and off the field.  A second chance and a better outlook with another team could make the boisterous Hall into a dedicated player again.

Hall flourished in a zone-heavy coverage scheme in Atlanta while compiling 17 interceptions in three seasons as full-time starter.  Yet in a Saints defense, which plays mostly man coverage, Hall could struggle. 

Jason David is the prime example of what can happen to a dominate zone-coverage corner in a man-coverage scheme. Hall's struggles, however, came on a team that has no identity, no inspiration, and no drive to succeed. David has continued to struggle in man coverage, but Hall has better attributes and natural talent. 

A change of venue, back into the NFC South, could do Hall good.  It may just be what he needs to return to form.  He knows how teams like the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers run their offenses.  He knows the players on the Falcons as well as their strengths and weaknesses.

The Saints need to sign Hall, but with caution.  Sign him for just the rest of the season without any guarantees by season's end.  It would give Hall a chance to prove himself and he'll be playing for another chance next season. 

The Saints would get a two-time Pro Bowler at cornerback for at least the stretch run to help out with a continually struggling secondary.  If Hall plays well and gets the Saints over the hump and into the playoffs, he'll return the favor of his second chance and possibly stay with the team.  If not, the Saints will have at least tried to fix a defense that continues to rank as one of the worst in the NFL.