Just a few hours ago the New Orleans Saints reached an agreement with defensive end Cameron Jordan to extend his contract. Multiple sources confirmed the deal via Twitter:
Jordan, one of the two 2011 first-round picks of the Saints, would have been entering the final year of his rookie deal but the Saints smartly decided to extend his contract and give him a raise, a substantial raise. The new 5-year contract will earn the 25-year old player up to $60 million.
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Simply, the Saints couldn’t afford the risk of losing a player like Jordan after the 2015 season, when he was supposed to hit the open market. He’s one of the few key players on the Saints’ defense, even if he underperformed last year. While he was still effective in run defense he, alongside with the whole front-seven, struggled a lot when asked to pressure the opposing quarterback. Jordan still managed to get 7.5 sacks in 2014 but has been inconsistent all season long.
2013 was by far his best season and Jordan was awarded with a Pro Bowl invitation after finishing with 29 total tackles, 12.5 sacks, five pass deflections and two forced fumbles. Pro Football Focus (subscription required) graded Jordan very positively, ranking him behind only J.J. Watt among 3-4 defensive ends in terms of pass rush production.
Handing out big contracts like the Jordan’s one is always risky but don’t forget that the Saints freed up a good deal of cap space for the next few years after trading away Jimmy Graham and Ben Grubbs and restructuring a few other contracts so this deal won’t hurt the Saints that much financially.
General manager Mickey Loomis shut down the rumor that Jordan would have been on the trading block earlier this year and now is excited for the new deal (via Mike Triplett, ESPN.com):
“This is a great day for the New Orleans Saints and for Cameron. Since his arrival, Cameron has progressed into one of the core players on our team both on and off the field. He’s had a great start to his career here and we’re excited about him being one of the mainstays to our defense moving forward.”
It’s now all set for Cam Jordan to step up and become a true defensive leader, something the Saints badly need. With the additions of Hao’uli Kikaha and Stephone Anthony the Saints hope to finally have a competitive front-seven but it all starts upfront with Jordan (and Akiem Hicks, another player that needs to step up in 2015).
Overall I like this deal a lot, not only because Jordan is an excellent player but also because he is a respected, beloved teammate and even a better person off the field, as he does a lot for the community in New Orleans too.
Final grade: A.
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