New Orleans Saints May Look Into One Of These Available Safeties Before Training Camp

With safety still being a questionable spot, here are a few quality players the Saints could look to add before training camp.
Credit:© Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
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New Orleans Saints safety Jordan Howden played well as a rookie fifth-round draft choice in 2023. So well that it made the team feel comfortable enough to release veteran S Marcus Maye this offseason. Howden is expected to assume a starting job alongside Tyrann Mathieu in the back part of the New Orleans secondary this season.

In two years with the Saints, Maye had missed the equivalent of one season with injuries and suspension. However, his absence does create questionable depth at the position. Veteran Johnathan Abram is capable near the line of scrimmage but a major liability in coverage. Ugo Amadi played well in his first year with the Saints but has been mostly a special teams contributor throughout his career.

New Orleans also brought in former Detroit Lions S Will Harris after the draft. Harris can play both deep safety or the slot and actually could challenge Howden for starting reps. Additionally, he is familiar with Dennis Allen's system, having played for former New Orleans assistant Aaron Glenn the last three years in Detroit.

We shouldn't expect the Saints to look into signing another safety before OTA workouts through the end of the month. However, they may look to do so before training camp if Howden, Harris, Amadi, and Abram look shaky.

Here are some the free-agent safeties still available on the market.

Buffalo Bills safety Micah Hyde (23) breaks up a pass intended for Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (1)
Buffalo Bills safety Micah Hyde (23) breaks up a pass intended for Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (1) / Credit:© Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

• Micah Hyde (33 - Bills)
• Eddie Jackson (30 - Bears)
• Justin Simmons (30 - Broncos)
• Tashaun Gipson (34 - 49ers)
• Quandre Diggs (31 - Seahawks)
• Tracy Walker (29 - Lions)

(age and previous team in parentheses)

Hyde has been an outstanding playmaker over an 11-year career with Green Bay and Buffalo. A traditional free safety, he still possesses solid range and strong instincts in deep support. He has 24 career interceptions despite missing most of 2022, including two with seven passes broken up and 54 tackles last season with the Bills.

Jackson was on the short end of a youth movement in Chicago, not getting re-signed after seven standout seasons with the Bears. A true ballhawk early in his career, Jackson had 10 interceptions, five fumble recoveries, and five defensive touchdowns over his first three years. Still effective in two-high safety sets or able to cover tight ends, Jackson had four interceptions in 2022 and picked off one pass last season.

Simmons and S Jamaal Adams are two of the biggest names remaining on the free-agent market at any position. One of the league's top playmakers at the position, Simmons has 30 career interceptions, including three last season and an NFL-high six in 2022.

Chicago Bears safety Eddie Jackson (4) intercepts a pass against the New York Giants
Chicago Bears safety Eddie Jackson (4) intercepts a pass against the New York Giants / Credit:© Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Simmons, Hyde, and Jackson may command bigger contracts, but their asking price may go down if still available closer to training camp. If not, here the Saints may look into less expensive veterans like Gipson, Diggs, or Walker.

Like Simmons and Jackson, Gipson has shown the ability to play either safety spot through a 12-year career with the Browns, Jaguars, Texans, Bears, and 49ers. He has 33 career interceptions, including five as recently as two years ago, while still showing solid range and excellent savvy.

Diggs is coming off a down year in Seattle. However, he had three straight Pro Bowl seasons between 2020 and 2022 with a combined 14 interceptions and 24 passes broken up. He can still be a valuable asset in two-high safety alignments or off-ball coverage in the slot.

Walker played under Aaron Glenn in Detroit, a similar system to Dennis Allen's in New Orleans. He doesn't have ideal range, but would be outstanding in the tackle box and adequate in zone duties.

The Saints clearly feel comfortable with a Mathieu-Howden duo at safety, with Will Harris possibly being a terrific addition to the position. Should the team's confidence wane in any of the three or the overall depth at the position during OTA sessions, then one of these available safeties could become a target heading into training camp.

Bob Rose


Covers the New Orleans Saints as a senior writer for the Saints News Network.  Co-Host of the Bayou Blitz Podcast.