Ceedy’s out and Maye’s legal issues: What’s ahead for Saints secondary
An answer for the Saints’ secondary depth may have just from departed another team’s practice squad
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Just before the start of the regular season, the Saints’ secondary is facing some potential issues.
Last week, safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson was traded to the Eagles after extension talks broke down and Marcus Maye was arrested in Jefferson Parish for allegedly pointing a gun at juveniles during an incident that has been described as “road rage”.
The Saints had just finished the preseason on a high note, touting confidence in their depth at several positions. Now, adjustments could be in store on the defensive side of the ball.
The Saints are deep in several areas and certainly confident enough in their secondary that they were comfortable with trading Gardner-Johnson after their relationship had soured, and due to the likely fact that they knew they would not be able to afford to re-sign him in an actual contract year due to his rising value.
Head coach Dennis Allen, who was most recently defensive coordinator before taking over for Sean Payton, likes versatile secondary players that can shift positions. Maye, Tyrann Mathieu, P.J. Williams, and possibly Bradley Roby could all possibly see time in either free safety or strong safety roles.
With Gardner-Johnson gone, however, the Saints may look to add another player in the coming weeks to keep rotations fresh.
Now with the legal issues surrounding Maye, the Saints might be even more hard-pressed to find a versatile guy for secondary depth that can take reps.
Last week’s arrest isn’t the first incident Maye has dealt with in recent history. He was involved in a civil dispute last October and arrested on suspicion of a DUI last February.
“These are issues that can creep up on the Saints and lead to a possible suspension,” said The Athletic’s Larry Holder. “It’s a similar situation with Alvin Kamara. We don’t know when the NFL is going to react to something like that.”
Court dates, delays in the legal process, and judges’ input are all factors to consider in the situation that is now before Maye and the Saints and it presents a cloud of uncertainty as to when and if he may face league discipline.
Holder also said that when it comes to legal matters, the NFL typically likes to let the legal system play out and then react.
A move the Saints could make
The Saints may want a bit of insurance with Ceedy gone and an unknown legal timeline for Maye looming.
Ironically, an answer to adding depth at safety may be in Philadelphia, or at least, that answer just departed from Philadelphia.
To make room for the rising Gardner-Johnson, the Eagles cut 30-year-old safety Anthony Harris, a reliable seasoned vet who had been with Minnesota since 2015 until last season’s run with the Eagles. After being cut from Philly, Harris signed with the Eagles practice squad but later the two parties mutually agreed to part ways on Monday (Sept. 5.)
Adding Harris would give the Saints a proven vet in the safety rotation. In his career, Harris has totaled 356 tackles, 10 interceptions, 31 passes defended, and one forced fumble. In 2019, Harris totaled 6 interceptions which left him ties for most in the NFL with Stephon Gilmore (New England) and Tre-Davious White (Buffalo). In the postseason that year, Harris intercepted a pass thrown by Drew Brees that was returned for 30 years during a 26-20 overtime win.
As we’ve seen with Saints teams in recent history, depth is essential if you can get it.
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