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Janoris Jenkins Reportedly Claimed by Saints After Being Cut by Giants

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 16, 2019

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 10: Janoris Jenkins #20 of the New York Giants intercepts a ball intended for Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots during the first quarter in the game at Gillette Stadium on October 10, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints have reportedly claimed veteran cornerback Janoris Jenkins, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

He was waived by the New York Giants Sunday while also officially dealing with an ankle injury.

The Giants made a big splash when they signed the 30-year-old in 2016 to a five-year, $62.5 million deal. At the time, New York was coming off a 2015 season in which it allowed 298.9 passing yards per game, most in the NFL.

Jenkins delivered immediate returns, finishing 2016 with three interceptions and 18 passes defended en route to his first Pro Bowl. The Giants, meanwhile, climbed to 23rd in pass defense (251.1 yards per game).

Things then took a turn starting in 2017. The Giants suspended Jenkins for what proved to be one game, and he later underwent season-ending ankle surgery.

Jenkins remained healthy for 2018, but New York's defense was a liability nonetheless. The team ranked 24th in defensive efficiency and 26th in pass defense DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average), per Football Outsiders.

Gettleman acknowledged the need to reset the roster a bit by trading Odell Beckham Jr. and then selecting Daniel Jones with the sixth overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft. Jones had replaced Eli Manning by the third week of the season, making it clear a new era had started.

Jenkins was seemingly on his way out as well, especially with the seventh-biggest cap hit ($14.75 million) for a cornerback in 2020, per Spotrac.

As the deadline neared, he was prepared for a resolution regarding his future.

"At the end of the day, let me go be who I be," he told reporters. "Ain't no pressure. Ain't no arguments. If you are going to let me go, let me go. Don't beat around the bush."

While he stuck with the team beyond the deadline, he created controversy last week when he used an offensive slur when arguing with a fan on Twitter. The Giants released him, with head coach Pat Shurmur saying "it was in the best interests of the franchise and the player."

Jenkins will hope to be a better fit for the Saints, and the question is whether a change of scenery will help him rediscover his 2016 form.

He finished 2018 with 70 combined tackles, two interceptions and 15 passes defended, and his four interceptions and 14 passes defended through 13 games in 2019 mask the fact he's likely no longer a No. 1 shutdown corner.

There's no question Jenkins played well below expectations. Part of that could be down to the fact he had been on a team heading in the wrong direction.

His relatively underwhelming play, coupled with his contract, does add some risk to this trade. Even though the Saints didn't give up anything to get him out of New York, he'll have to improve to provide a worthwhile return on the remaining money in his contract.

At the very least, he should be able to help a contending team that entered Monday ranked 20th in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game. 

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