Should Jacksonville Jaguars trade for Saints CB Marshon Lattimore?

The Jacksonville Jaguars need to bolster their secondary and although both the draft and free agency will offer some attractive options, they should consider trading for proven players. Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. could be one potential target and New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore may be another one.

Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated recently offered some suggestions for the NFL teams with the most cap space this offseason and the ‘Jags’ showed up at the top of the list. Before he started though, he emphasized the fact these were just ideas and not official reports.

Breer thinks Jacksonville should call the Saints to inquire about Lattimore’s availability on a trade. He points out New Orleans needs cap relief and moving on from the cornerback could help them free up cap space. Moreover, he brings up the fact the cornerback played for Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer at Ohio State and adds that the 2017 first-round pick could ‘help facilitate a Ravens-style scheme for new coordinator Joe Cullen’.

The Jacksonville Jaguars may be better off passing this one up.

Lattimore, the 11th overall pick in 2017’s draft, has been a staple of the Saints’ secondary over his four-year career, logging 230 total tackles, 55 passes defensed, five forced fumbles, and ten interceptions. Although the Ohio State standout made two Pro Bowls in his first two years, he snagged two interceptions but allowed a career-high seven touchdowns in 2020.

Moreover, Pro Football Focus gave Lattimore a 54.1 overall grade last season, the lowest one he’s had in his career. Keep in mind it’s possible that last year was an outlier and he could get back in Pro Bowl shape in 2021. Either way, the Jaguars would need to think of the resource they would need to invest in the cornerback if they were interested in trading for him.

The Saints picked up Lattimore’s fifth-year option and he’s set to count $10.2 million against the cap. The Jaguars could easily take on his contract, but they would also have to give him an extension. Otherwise, they would be paying for a one-year rental.

Lattimore will probably want to be paid market rate, which means that Jacksonville would need to part ways with draft picks (or a player) and give the corner a new contract. Had he not had a down year in 2020, the decision to trade for him would be easier, as the ‘Jags’ would know what kind of player they’re getting. Right now, they would have to hope it was an anomaly rather than the beginning of a trend.

Even though Lattimore may have indeed had just one bad season, there will be other cornerback options in the open market and the Jaguars won’t need to give up picks to get them. The Lattimore-Meyer connection could play a role in them ultimately pulling a trigger on a trade. Nevertheless, the Jaguars’ brass needs to consider that there may be better options available.