Saints add former Bengals, Packers CB KeiVarae Russell to free agent tryouts

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Don’t say the New Orleans Saints aren’t ignoring their biggest need. They just aren’t going after the biggest fish in the pond. ESPN’s Dan Graziano reported Sunday that the Saints plan to work out several free agent cornerbacks, including former Cincinnati Bengals third-round draft pick KeiVarae Russell. But Russell has played more snaps on special teams (214) than on defense (184) in his four-year career, including three games with the Green Bay Packers in 2020. So he’s probably seen as a candidate to replace Justin Hardee Sr. as the team’s top corner in the kicking game rather than a fill-in for Janoris Jenkins with the starting lineup.

That could be the vision for Prince Amukamara, though. The former New York Giants and Chicago Bears starter is also visiting New Orleans in hopes of finding a deal, having spent the 2020 season on the Arizona Cardinals practice squad. He’s on the wrong side of 30 to be a long-time answer for the Saints, but his experience working against top-tier receivers is valuable. If he’s willing to sign at the veteran’s minimum as other recent Saints free agent pickups, maybe he sticks around.

It’s unclear which other corners could be working out today; only Russell and Amukamara have been identified so far. But the Saints coaches and scouts have an opportunity to put these free agents through their paces while the players are off, with their next training camp practice scheduled for Monday (the final session before they take the field in pads on Tuesday). But keep in mind that the Saints must open a roster spot if they want to add anyone — Saturday’s Devonta Freeman signing put them at the 90-man roster limit. Hopefully they’re able to find a corner worth the effort.