A couple pieces of notable free agent changes happened yesterday as the Saints lost one of their own free agents and finally filled that 90th roster spot. Sedrick Ellis, who the Saints were never considering bringing back, joined Jermon Bushrod in Chicago, and the Saints finally got the veteran cornerback I had been clamoring for to add competition in Chris Carr.
I've long talked about the frustration of Sed Ellis' fall from grace. When the Saints traded to get him seventh overall he showed promise of living up to that investment in the first three years of his career. None of those three years were spectacular, but they were solid and showed signs of steady improvement. Then, he completely imploded in seasons four and five, right around the time you'd expect a rising player like that to enter his prime. Instead, he regressed to a liability at defensive tackle. Not only that, but a trusted source within the organization had some eye opening things to tell me off the record about his character and fit in the locker room. I think we can all agree it was time to move on and while I wish him the best, Bears fans shouldn't get too excited about this pickup.
As far as Carr, the pickup was much less exciting than what I thought the Saints would use to fill that last roster spot given the cap room they just created thanks to the extension of Roman Harper's contract. Carr is a veteran corner that's bounced around the league and he has had some success as a backup corner and return man. I view the top three corner spots as locked down between Lewis, Greer and Robinson but behind them it's a wide open competition. I could easily see Carr making the roster as the fourth corner ahead of White, or even as the fifth corner behind White thanks to his special teams ability if they decide to keep that many. Carr's best season came in 2010 when he started 16 games for the Ravens and intercepted two passes. Looking back at Carr's grades on Pro Football Focus, he's always graded exceptionally well in coverage and poorly in run support. So I definitely see him as a guy that could come in on passing downs as a nickel or dime corner and give the team some value. The way the roster currently stands I think this is a nice addition because if he still has some gas in the tank at 30 he has a real good shot of sticking on the final 53 as a reserve role player. This isn't just a "camp" body, he can make this team. The Saints do have a lot of talented safeties this year so I'm sure they'll keep less corners than usual, but if they keep five i'd assume he's in the mix. If they keep four then I'd give the edge to Corey White. The Saints do have seven safeties, all of which I like, so pairing that position down is going to be tough.