As If The Saints' Defense Wasn't Already Concerning Enough, Delvin Breaux Is Reportedly On The Trading Block
I guess my question isn't so much "why?" as much as it is "why now?".
Look no further than the handling of Jimmy Graham and Brandin Cooks for proof that the Saints - specifically under Sean Payton - have been quick to pull the trigger in moving talented players that they deem expendable. I can see why they'd think a 27 year old cornerback with an extensive history of serious injuries whose value likely isn't going to get any higher than it did following his breakout season would fit that bill.
Unfortunately, the Saints' shouldn't feel anywhere near as inclined to pass the buck on anyone that is making an affordable buck to adequately defend the pass. I understand the franchise's frustration with Delvin Breaux having mostly seen the field from the sidelines for the last year and change, but the cusp of a make-or-break for the organization might not be the best time to move one of the most proven (although that's not exactly saying much) commodities in the secondary. Without even factoring the lack of leverage that you have when moving a player - out of the clear blue - this close to the season, the fact that said player plays a position that his current team tried desperately to address mere months ago makes this hypothetical trade one that is unlikely to work out in New Orleans' favor.
Considering Delvin Breaux is a guy who damn near lost his life on a football field, there's probably a pretty significant chance that he's hesitant (and rightfully so) to play at anything notably less than 100%. That's undoubtedly not going to sit well with those held responsible for fielding a competitive team in a sport that undeniably requires you to overcome some bumps and bruises. In theory, anyone that they could get in exchange would be an upgrade over Delvin Breaux if Delvin Breaux isn't going to be active on most Sundays, but - in theory - the Saints' cornerbacks are much deeper than they actually are without him even potentially being in the lineup.
At the time, I didn't take umbrage with the Saints' decision to keep their picks instead of trading for an established veteran in Malcolm Butler. However, if potentially erasing someone who was penciled in as a starting cornerback is something that has been weighing on their mind for awhile now then they have made themselves insanely vulnerable to looking very stupid. If this news is more of a foreshadowing than a mere possibility then they are depending on Marshon Lattimore (who is busy dealing with his own health issues) to set the curve instead of taking the time a rookie generally needs to learn it. They would be expecting P.J. Williams to kick the injury bug that has cost him the vast majority of his early career. The performance of what has been a woefully anemic defense could fall heavily on the shoulders of two undrafted free agents - in Ken Crawley and De'Vante Harris - who have yet to prove that impressive offseasons can translate during the regular season.
Simply put, if Delvin Breaux is in another jersey come September and he doesn't fetch someone that can play press, man-to-man defense in return then there's a whole hell of a lot more than could go painfully wrong on one particular side of the ball. For a defense that has been operating under Murphy's Law for the last handful of seasons, that's not exactly something that breeds optimism.