Saints to sign veteran DB

Yardbarker

A Saints-to-Lions pipeline formed recently, with Dan Campbell and Aaron Glenn in place after lengthy New Orleans tenures. Will Harris will make the reverse trip, committing to the Saints on Wednesday.

Busy reshaping their DB corps last year, the Lions reduced Harris’ playing time despite re-signing him. After the former third-round pick had played 1,012 defensive snaps for the 2021 Lions and logged 660 in 2022, the Lions’ bevy of additions kept him as a backup last season. Harris played in every Lions game but started only two and was on the field for just 192 defensive plays. The Bob Quinn-era draftee will nevertheless bring some versatility to the Saints, having spent full seasons at both safety and corner — with some time as a sub-package linebacker — while in Detroit.

As the Lions brought in C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Cameron Sutton, Emmanuel Moseley and second-rounder Brian Branch last year, Harris played on a one-year, $2.58M deal. The Lions have moved on from three of these players, making a concerted effort to upgrade at corner, where Harris spent the 2023 season. Detroit moved Harris to corner before the 2022 season and kept him thereupon re-signing the Boston College product. Harris started two games last season, playing behind the likes of Sutton, Jerry Jacobs and Kindle Vildor. Only Vildor remains with the Lions among that CB cadre, as the team traded for Carlton Davis and used its first two draft choices on corners last week.

Harris started 11 games from 2019-20 but made 17 starts during Campbell’s first season, a rebuilding campaign that ended at 3-13-1. Pro Football Focus has never been particularly impressed by the 6-foot-1 defender, though he made 93 tackles in 2021 and stuck as a starter for much of Glenn’s second DC season.

The Saints released Marcus Maye this offseason but reached an extension agreement with Tyrann Mathieu. The team used rookie Jordan Hawden as a Maye fill-in during his injury- and suspension-marred 2023. New Orleans also re-signed Johnathan Abram in March. At corner, the team added Kool-Aid McKinstry to a crew housing Marshon Lattimore and recent Day 2 picks Alontae Taylor and Paulson Adebo. If nothing else, Harris stands to supply some depth and special teams assistance for the NFC South club.

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