MFWE: New Orleans Saints Free Agents
Once free agency settles down I decided to talk with some Saints fans about the newest Eagles additions of Malcolm Jenkins and Darren Sproles.
Jenkins, who was drafted by the Saints with the 14th overall pick in 2009, started the last four seasons at safety. Sproles, who was signed away from the San Diego Chargers, played three years in New Orleans. Based on that time, here’s what Reddit’s Saints fans had to say:
1. What’s the best and worst of Malcolm Jenkins
Malcom Jenkins isn’t a star safety, but he’s a relatively dependable player. I think he’ll do well on Philly and still has some growing potential, considering he’s only 26. He has a tendency to make big plays when it matters, so I’d consider him a “clutch” player. His biggest asset is speed, not covering ability, though his reactions to force INTs are always good too.
Jenkin’s best trait would be his intelligence. He rarely is out of position on a play. Yet his tackling ability leaves much to be desired. He will miss quite a few open field tackles that are sure to make a highlight reel for the other team because this usually results in a touchdown. His athletic abilities are very average for his position as well. He does, however, make a few outstanding plays a year which will leave you wondering if he is really the same player. It is totally possible that he will improve his technique and will become a more elite safety rather than average.
The best of Malcolm Jenkins is his versatility and athleticism. I think the fact that he converted from cornerback to FS as a rookie is a bit overblown, but he is quite the versatile player. There are a lot of different schemes that he can fit in. Jenkins was at his best when the defense was run by Gregg Williams, which allowed him to slide around to different positions throughout the game.
He is still only 26, and possesses the athleticism to make plays from across the field and to be able to stay on top of deep routes. Jenkins’ best quality may be his anticipation and quick action. He has showed remarkable prowess reading the quarterback and choosing to abandon or pick up a route based on that. He has the eye for jumping routes as well.
One of his weaknesses is linked to his tendency to jump routes. He can sometimes bite, and his anticipation can be exploited by an intelligent game plan/quarterback. Also, his tackling is below average. He has excellent pursuit skills, but once he is in tackling rage, it’s too easy for a runner to elude Jenkins enough to avoid a tackle, or to exploit Jenkins’ poor tackling form and break the tackle.
Best is how Much he can do. He is versatile. He played center field in cover 3, he played corner and he blitzed. He said last season that he like how Rob Ryan utilized his nickel corner ability.
Also he never quits on a play. He has saved many touchdowns by not quitting on the play. He has good speed and lacking quickness, but great catch up speed. He was drafted as a corner so that tells you how athletic he is.
Worst would be he isn’t a playmaker. He just doesn’t play aggressive enough at times and lacks quickness as I said before, probably the reason he moved to safety.
Good safety. Not elite.
2. Do you think his contract of 3 years, $16.5 million dollars is a fair deal?
The contract is fair but only if he is used the right way. I have no idea about the rest of your safety position, but if his lower contract allows him to be paired with a better safety this is worth it. He is a starting caliber safety in the NFL, so no his contract is not outrageous.
I think that salary is pretty fair. It makes him the 19th highest paid safety in the league (avg. per year), and that seems to be around where Jenkins is performing.
Nothing wrong with that contract. 5 million a year is what I would pay for him. I really wanted him to stay and when I saw that he signed with the Eagles for 5 mil a year I was mad because I was sure we could have matched that (Then we signed Byrd and all was forgotten).
Note: When talking about Jenkins, I received a ton of responses from people. Most notably, they mentioned this play against Dallas and the one below when referring to Jenkins effort.
3. Did the Saints move on from Darren Sproles too early and for too little?
I think the Saints are in the middle of a paradigm shift on offense. First, they want to get younger. The wear throughout the season could be a reason why a lackluster second half of the season followed an explosive first half. Also, the main thing that Sean Payton wants to change is predictability.
The Saints play-calling was stale. They only averaged 2 yards per play on screen plays through the last six weeks of the season, and there were quite a lot of them. I think the Saints’ decision to release Sproles was a tough one for fans, but ultimately it will allow the offense to be younger, and take their gameplan in a new direction.
Sproles can still be quite effective, though. He excels at wheel and flat routes (rather than screens) where he is already in open space when he gets the ball and can use his speed and elusiveness to make plays in the open field.
One aspect in which he is overrated, though, is his KR/PR game. He has been nothing more than an average KR/PR for New Orleans the last two years. One aspect that he is underrated is his physicality. He was very effective at running between the tackles, and he broke significantly more tackles than Mark Ingram. That burst makes him a very effective inside runner. Also, Sproles does not shy away from blocking.
Regarding compensation, the fifth-round pick did sting a little (especially after Blaine Gabbert was traded for a 6th rounder), but the Saints ultimately had no choice after playing their hand too early. The entire league knew that he was going to be cut, so once the Saints started pursuing trades, they lost most of their leverage during bargaining. The fifth-round pick the Eagles gave was more for exclusivity and right of bargaining than Darren’s actual worth.
I don’t think we moved too fast. I actually discussed this with my brother (also a die hard saints fan) and he said we were probably going to get a 5th. Sproles is on the wrong side of 30 which isn’t good for a speedy back. Don’t get me wrong he still has plenty in the tank and is still a dual threat, but considering we were about to release him a 5th round pick is perfect.
Sproles was one of my favorite players and I was sad to watch him leave. Yet, I understood the reasoning behind this move by the Saint’s front office. He still has amazing lateral agility that will make him deadly on screen passes and swing routes. In the Saint’s gameplan, however, he became entirely to predictable.
He is not a traditional running anymore and you cannot hand him the ball and expect him to get anywhere unless the run that is called is meant to get him into space. In 2011 he was still able to get some push up between the tackles, but this year whenever he tried this he didn’t get past the line of scrimmage.
But when spoles was used more like a WR out of the backfield who could’ve dumped off to if the coverage was good down the field he was still good. Most of his stats came in a few games early in the season though and he just looked slower after that. Pierre Thomas can be used in much the same fashion as Sproles, but he can also run up between the tackles, so his use kept the defenses guessing unlike Sproles.
I think the Saints let him go because they needed the cap room to sign Byrd, and not because they had no more interest in Sproles. A 5th round draft pick is totally fair considering his age and his market. Everyone knew he was gone, so it wouldn’t have made sense to pay more than that if they knew he may be available soon through waivers otherwise. 5th rounder was the most that was offered and it much better than nothing. Plus, most of our best guys were taken in the later rounds, so the Saints always like sticking up on those.
Posted on March 24, 2014, in Contributors and Guest Articles, Eagles, Vince Quinn and tagged Darren Sproles, Eagles, free agency, I am the coolest guy in the world, malcolm jenkins, nfl, remember to google search rainy day arts and crafts, Saints. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.