The Saints and cornerback Keenan Lewis struck agreement on a new deal earlier today, but he potentially could have been changing uniforms instead. Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (via Twitter) hears that New Orleans only re-did Lewis’ deal after shopping him to several teams and after word got out.
Earlier this month, Lewis demanded that the Saints either guarantee the remaining three years on his deal or cut him loose. Soon after, he walked those comments back and said that he wanted to retire in black and gold. Now, it turns out that he might have been pretty close to changing teams this offseason.
Lewis ultimately agreed to reduce his 2015 base salary from $1.8MM to $850K and his 2016 base salary from $4.25MM to $2.7MM. The reduced portions of those salaries have been converted to a signing bonus, which appears to be worth $2.85MM. All in all, Lewis receives an extra $10.4MM in guarantees, and his cap hit dips from $4.85MM to $4.5MM for ’15, creating a tiny bit of extra flexibility for the Saints.
Last season, Lewis graded out as the No. 98 cornerback in the NFL out of 108 qualified, according to the advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus (subscription required). That’s a far cry from his production in the year prior when he ranked as PFF’s 27th best cornerback in the NFL or in 2012 when he placed at No. 38.