The New Orleans Saints are finally making the splash move at cornerback that they have been hinting at all offseason, as they are in the process of trading for Houston Texans veteran Bradley Roby, a source confirmed to ESPN.
Terms of the deal, which was first reported by NFL Network, have not been disclosed.
Roby is a former first-round draft pick of the Denver Broncos who spent the past two years in Houston and has started 49 career games with 10 interceptions.
The 29-year-old Roby is due to make $10 million in salary and bonuses this season in the second year of a three-year, $31.5 million extension that he signed with the Texans last year. He will miss the first game of the season, however, as part of a six-game suspension that began in 2020 for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.
The Saints have identified cornerback as a “must-fill” position ever since they released former starter Janoris Jenkins in March as part of a massive salary-cap purge and then lost one potential starting contender, Patrick Robinson, to a surprise retirement early in training camp. They even attempted to trade up nearly 20 spots in the NFL draft to land top prospects Jaycee Horn or Pat Surtain II.
New Orleans signed experienced veteran Desmond Trufant on Monday to compete with Ken Crawley and rookie Paulson Adebo for the No. 2 starting cornerback job across from Pro Bowler Marshon Lattimore. However, Roby now becomes the front-runner to lock down that job following his suspension.
Roby, listed at 5-foot-11, 194 pounds, began his career in a rotation with the Broncos for four seasons before becoming a full-time starter in 2018. He signed a one-year, $10 million contract with the Texans in 2019 that was described as a “prove-it” deal before re-signing with them in 2020.
In 99 career games, Roby has 10 interceptions, 75 passes defensed, eight forced fumbles, four sacks and 311 tackles.
Roby now joins Lattimore, safety Malcolm Jenkins, wide receiver Michael Thomas and others in the Ohio State-to-New Orleans pipeline that has been prominent over the past decade.
As for Houston, Roby was the Texans’ clear No. 1 cornerback entering the season, despite the suspension. After trading Roby, the Texans have six cornerbacks on their roster: Desmond King, Terrance Mitchell, Vernon Hargreaves, Tremon Smith, Tavierre Thomas and the newly acquired Jimmy Moreland.
ESPN’s Sarah Barshop contributed to this report.