The New Orleans Saints waited until day three of NFL free agency before they made their first free agent signing. It was announced that the team acquired former Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Keenan Lewis. Lewis came in today to meet with the Saints and there was no way the team was letting him leave without signing. The deal is reportedly worth $26 million over five years with $11 million guaranteed.
Lewis is a great pick up for the Saints because the team desperately needed help in the secondary and he will provide that help. When he was with the Steelers, he played a lot of zone coverage, but he will have to transition to playing man-coverage. Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan likes his secondary to play in man-coverage, so it might be a slight adjustment for Lewis.
However, Lewis has great size at 6-foot 200-pounds, so he should not have a problem playing in man-coverage. Furthermore, Lewis should complement cornerback Jabari Greer nicely in the secondary and the two could become one of the better CB duos in the NFL.
Last season with the Steelers, Lewis had a breakout season as he led the NFL in passes defended with 23. He also had 71 tackles and one forced fumble. One area of concern with him is his lack of interceptions. For his entire career, he has only recorded one interception in four seasons and this is something that he will need to drastically improve on.
Despite his lack of interceptions, Lewis is a big and fast cornerback who does a great job at defending opposing receivers. Last season, there were no cornerbacks with more than 16 passes defended–except him. Furthermore, he only allowed 52.7 percent completions when he was defending.
The Saints are getting a physical corner who not only can defend the pass, but is a good tackler. Furthermore, for being so big, Lewis is very fast and this will serve him well in man-coverage because he will be able to chase down his opponent and make the tackle. All in all, this was a great first signing for the Saints as they were able to address one of their biggest needs.