In a surprise move, the New Orleans Saints have released cornerback Keenan Lewis.
Lewis offered a goodbye to the fans in New Orleans on his Instagram account:
"You always want to prove that they made a mistake," Lewis said, per Josina Anderson of ESPN. "That is something that I really want to do."
The Saints signed Lewis to a five-year deal in March 2013. He looked like a sound investment through the first two seasons, starting all 32 games while recording six interceptions and 26 passes defensed.
There were indications Lewis was on the decline in 2014, when Pro Football Focus (via Canal Street Chronicles) ranked him 98th of 108 cornerbacks who played at least 300 snaps, including a minus-7.8 grade in coverage.
Last year, Lewis played in just six games before landing on the injured reserve list in November with an MCL injury. On Friday, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported a hip injury has bothered Lewis in the preseason this year.
Even though Lewis' health and performance have been declining, it seems odd to release a veteran defender on a team that needs all the defensive help it can get. The Saints will enter the season with P.J. Williams and Delvin Breaux as their top two cornerbacks. If the team wants to move in a different direction, there's no point in delaying it, though.
Lewis will have an opportunity to sign with a new team before the season starts, though it will take him time to adjust to a new defensive system before getting back on the field again.