Unrestricted free agent cornerback Keenan Lewis has reportedly signed a five-year, $26 million contract with the New Orleans Saints on Thursday.
“I’m very excited to be able to come back to my hometown,” Lewis said. “Having grown up here I understand the passion that the fans have for the Saints and I’m blessed to be able to have the chance to play in front of them here in the future. I had a great visit with the Saints and am thankful for the time I spent with the Pittsburgh Steelers and wish them continued success.”
Lewis was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round of the 2009 draft out of Oregon State. After two disappointing seasons in 2009 and 2010, Lewis started to make a turnaround as he played left outside cornerback in 2011 in the Steelers nickel defense.
In 2012, Lewis had a superb season that resulted in him finishing second in the league in passess defensed. Lewis is from the New Orleans area so it will be a homecoming for him. He will be asked to play cornerback with mostly man responsibilities in the Saints 3-4 defense that new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is implementing in 2013.
The Steelers have now lost three of their unrestricted free agents this off-season as Mike Wallace signed with the Miami Dolphins on Tuesday and Rashard Mendenhall signed with the Arizona Cardinals on Wednesday.
With Lewis now gone, Cortez Allen will step into the starting spot opposite Ike Taylor. William Gay, who just signed a few weeks ago, will more than likely be the nickel back. The rest of the depth will play itself out in training camp with Curtis Brown, DeMarcus Van Dyke, Josh Victorian and Justin King all battling for roster spots.