The New Orleans Saints and free-agent safety Kurt Coleman have agreed to terms of a three-year contract. Two people familiar with the situation spoke to the Associated Press on Saturday on condition of anonymity because the roster move has not been announced.
The 29-year-old Coleman is an eight-year veteran out of Ohio State who played the past three seasons for Carolina.
The Panthers released Coleman on Feb. 26, clearing $2.65 million in salary-cap space.
Coleman, who will turn 30 in July, signed a three-year extension with the Panther in 2016 worth $17 million with $7 million guaranteed.
He originally joined the Panthers as a free agent in 2015, leading the team with seven interceptions. He had only four interceptions in 2016 and none last season when he was named a team captain for the first time.
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In 12 games with the Panthers last season, Coleman had 76 tackles and three pass deflections. It marked the first time since the 2013 campaign that he didn’t record at least one interception. Carolina released the 29-year-old defensive end in February.
Injuries hampered the safety’s performance last year, when he missed four games. Coleman was out early in the season after spraining his left MCL in Week 4. Not only that, but he also was out in Week 17 because of an ankle injury.
Head coach Ron Rivera had nothing but kind words to say about Coleman as the two sides went their separate ways, per Bryan Strickland of the team’s website: “Kurt came in and brought leadership and direction to our young secondary. He helped us establish what our identity is. He was a huge contributor to the growth and development of that unit. He carried himself and represented this organization very well.”
As he looks to put last year behind him, the Saints are positioned to be rewarded by bringing him on board.
New Orleans has a strong secondary, anchored by 2017 rookies Marshon Lattimore and Marcus Williams, so it only has to use Coleman as a role player. His playmaking ability will translate well on the speedy turf at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.