Posted March 14, 2013

Keenan Lewis signs with New Orleans Saints

New Orleans Saints, NFL Free Agency
Keenan Lewis, blocking a pass intended for Dez Bryant, started all 16 games for the Steelers last season. (LARRY W. SMITH/EPA)

Keenan Lewis, blocking a pass intended for Dez Bryant, started all 16 games for the Steelers last season. (LARRY W. SMITH/EPA)

Keenan Lewis has agreed to a five-year with the New Orleans Saints, worth $26 million deal ($11 million guaranteed), according to Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times. Lewis, arguably the top cornerback available in this year’s free-agent class, led the league with 16 pass break-ups last season, out of the Steelers’ secondary.

He’ll add a much-needed defensive weapon to a Saints’ defense that finished 31st against the pass last season.

The 26-year-old Lewis stands 6-foot-0 and about 210 pounds. He figures to start at one of the Saints’ cornerback spots next year, likely with Jabari Greer at the other and Patrick Robinson defending the slot.

No matter the setup, it’s a better look for the Saints — especially in a division that will again pit them with, among others, the high-flying Atlanta Falcons and their talented receiving corps.

Lewis burst onto the scene last season as a full-time starter, after making just one start over his first three years. He did not pick off any passes (and has only one career pick), but he still played very well, as evidenced by that passes-defensed number.

The Steelers would have loved to keep Lewis around, but they continue to find themselves in a very difficult salary cap situation. The Saints were a natural fit for Lewis in a lot of ways, not the least of which being that he’s a New Orleans native.

Grade: A.
Nothing about the financial aspect of this deal stands out in a negative light — Lewis landed right in line with the CB signings of the past 24 hours, and he might be better than any other defensive back to sign in that time.

7 comments
RobTolf
RobTolf

Screw Lewis, I hope he and Wallace both enjoy watching their former teammates win a couple more Super Bowls.

BrianAllen
BrianAllen

Steelers fan here.  It's a lot of money for a guy that started for a year and had no interceptions last season.  Honestly, I think he fight in with the Steelers' scheme perfectly.  He was solid, but not flashy.  It remains to be seen how he fits into a secondary where he will be expected to be The Man.

Edward28
Edward28

Look, I was no fan of Lewis. The guy was overrated in a secondary that was horrible. But it's pretty clear that the Steelers have resigned themselves to a few 4-12 or 5-11 seasons. They've decided to do nothing. I salute them only for getting rid of---or allowing to leave---a few people with 'thug' or malcontent attitudes. Good. But to add nothing this off season? I'll find something else to do on Sundays.

jericho4854
jericho4854

 @Edward28 You are an idiot. The Steelers had the #1 pass defense last season without a decent pass rush. How are they horrible? Just stop having opinions about football because you clearly know nothing. Lewis was one of the best tackling corners in the league last year and was fantastic in coverage. He shut down AJ Greene and held up as the #1 corner after Ike went down. This isn't opinion. These are facts. Though I can't argue against the 4-5 win seasons since they clearly had no interest in keeping their most important free agent. Ya, Cortez was great as the nickel, but good nickel doesn't necessarily mean good starter. 

Edward28
Edward28

Jericho, do you watch the games and then go and have a six pack, or vice versa? Are you busy listening to jock-sniffing journalists in town, or do you have a clue?  You're going to give me trumped up "facts" that don't speak to the reality of the defense. What's next? Ike Taylor is Hall of Fame bound?

While I deride the team for doing nothing to upgrade itself on either side of the ball, letting this overrated player go was a no-brainer. he won't last the entire contract in NO.

Here's a suggestion pal, actually watch some games this year rather than relying on numbers. Your "facts" would make me wonder why the team hasn't been a dynasty.

jericho4854
jericho4854

 @Edward28 And considering the contract Lewis got from NO, I can't believe they let him walk. 5 years for 25mil on a cap friendly contract. Tsk tsk. Lewis didn't even put up any real numbers this year. He had no picks and a forced fumble. He did have 23 pass deflections which is awesome if you didn't know. He was targeted the 2nd most out of all corners and was still 4th in the AFC in yards allowed/target. Should I keep going? He was 7th best in TDs allowed and didn't give up a 100 yard game all season. Want some more trumped up facts? He was the 7th best run stopping DB in all of football last season, 3rd in the AFC. He missed zero tackles on run plays and gave up the 5h fewest yards on runs that went over 10 yards. Pro Football Focus ranked him as the 5th best corner in the AFC, and that's with ZERO interceptions. Sit down, take a breather, you're done.

jericho4854
jericho4854

 @Edward28 Taylor isn't going to the HoF, but he is very underrated. A shame he shat a brick in front of a national audience in the playoffs. But back to the point at hand. You literally said nothing to refute what I said except, "Nuh-uh!." What a compelling argument. Of course I watched film, do you? If you did, why didn't you offer ANY evidence to support your mal-informed opinion. My facts weren't trumped up, they are readily available for anyone to find. Don't be mad because you were called out by a Steelers fan that actually knows what he's talking about. Whether this season was a fluke is definitely up for debate. But you just look like a complete dumbass calling the #1 passing defense in the NFL horrible. Do you even read what you write before posting? You'd at least have an argument to make if you said overrated. But horrible? Come on man!