The New England Patriots have a starting cornerback duo in Stephon Gilmore and Jason McCourty, but defensive back depth still is a need after Malcolm Butler’s offseason departure.
Could they find that depth in the free agent bargain bin?
ESPN.com’s Bill Barnwell suggested as much Monday. In an article detailing the best landing spots for 15 NFL free agents, Barnwell tabbed New England as the top fit for former New Orleans Saints cornerback Delvin Breaux.
Here’s Barnwell’s take on Breaux, who has played just six games in the last two seasons:
“The risk-reward ratio for Breaux is enormous. Given his injury history, it’s difficult to imagine Breaux commanding more than a one-year, $2 million deal. His upside, though, is as a legitimate starting cover corner in a league in which those often cost $10 million per season in free agency.
“The Patriots have a track record of taking shots on similarly talented players, and while they traded for Jason McCourty and drafted Duke Dawson this offseason, (head coach) Bill Belichick has a way of finding uses for talented cornerbacks.”
Breaux took an unusual path to the NFL, spending three years in the Canadian Football League after going undrafted out of LSU in 2012. He had a strong debut season for the Saints, though, tallying 45 tackles, three interceptions and a fumble recovery in 2015.
Breaux broke his fibula in Week 1 of the 2016 campaign and suffered a fractured fibula during the 2017 preseason. The 28-year-old is healthy entering the 2018 season, however, so if Belichick feels the need to bolster his defensive backfield, Breaux could be an intriguing low-cost option.