Image created by: Dominik Kędzierawski (@dominikkdz)
The Saints have signed former Carolina Panthers Safety Kurt Coleman. We know so far that his contract is a 3-year, $18M deal and that $6.5M is due in the first year. As John Sigler of CSC pointed out, the contract could be structured in such a way that a mostly clean break can be made in 2019, if necessary. This continues the strong evidence toward a parting of ways with Kenny Vaccaro.
While he might not be the name you were waiting for right now, signing Coleman is a great move. He fits much of the criteria for the Saints’ 2017 off-season moves. He’s a former Carolina Panther, product of Ohio State University, and was held back the previous year by a nagging injury (ankle). If other players like him are any indication, Coleman could see a bit of a resurrection in the black and gold.
One of the things that Coleman brings to the Saints is more versatility. Noted above by Nick Underhill, he has the ability to play both safety positions and plays very well close to the line of scrimmage. He’s a better deep coverage defender than new teammate Vonn Bell. With Vaccaro, we would lose having a second deep coverage defender when he played in the box in three safety sets. Now, if Bell plays in the box, Marcus Williams and Kurt Coleman have the ability to share deep coverage. This takes pressure off of Williams, who I expect will be on a warpath this season, and puts Bell in a better position to succeed and play to his strengths. Alternatively, Coleman also plays very well in the box safety role. In 2016 when he played strong safety for Carolina, he ranked fifth in run stop percentage within 8 yards of the line per PFF.
It’s possible that the Saints will continue to tune up their secondary with another signing to help in slot coverage. But for now, Coleman brings a lot of potential to the already improved defense. Not to mention, he and his family tend to be very present in their community. A quality that the city of New Orleans values highly. He also brings in a wealth of knowledge about a division rival, which is always a plus. I expect this to be another signing that pays off wildly in the Saints’ favor a’la Manti Te’o and Ted Ginn Jr.
Welcome to the Who Dat Nation, Kurt. We hope you’ll enjoy playing with an offense you won’t have to bail out week-to-week.
Give him a follow and welcome him to New Orleans on Twitter @K4coleman