The Saints aren’t done tinkering with their roster.
The team announced Wednesday that it signed cornerback Kyle Wilson to a one-year deal and extended the contract of guard Jahri Evans by one year.
The terms of both deals were not disclosed.
Wilson (5-foot-10, 190 pounds) was a first-round pick of the New York Jets in the 2010 draft. He appeared in all 16 games each of the past five seasons and often covered the slot.
Wilson recorded 157 tackles, one sack, three interceptions, 19 passes defensed and one forced fumble with the Jets. In 2014, he recorded 26 tackles, one sack, one pass defensed and six special teams stops.
He allowed a 107.4 quarterback rating against when covering the slot in 2014, but was under 73.3 in both 2012 and 2013. The Saints need a player to fill this role after Patrick Robinson left last month to sign with the San Diego Chargers.
Another player who figured into the mix in nickel packages last season, Corey White, was waived last month and picked up by the Dallas Cowboys.
At last month’s annual meeting, coach Sean Payton said the team was working to alter Evans’ contract, which was previously due to count $11 million against the cap next season. It seems likely this deal lowers his number for 2015 and opened up the cap space to sign Wilson. The team also needs money to sign the players selected in the upcoming draft.
It was previously widely speculated that the Saints might look to move on from Evans. Payton said the team spoke with other teams about the possibility of trading Evans before New Orleans dealt guard Ben Grubbs to the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for a fifth-round pick.
The Saints have re-worked several other contracts this offseason, including those of Marques Colston, David Hawthorne and Brodrick Bunkley.
The Saints, who posted a 7-9 record last season, finished 25th in passing defense by allowing 4,019 yards through the air. The group was without safeties Jairus Byrd and Rafael Bush for long stretches last season, which contributed to the struggles. It appears a strong commitment has been made to circumvent similar issues next season.
The Saints have worked to remake their secondary over the past two offseasons by signing Byrd, reworking the contract of Keenan Lewis, and signing former New England Patriots cornerback Brandon Browner last month.
The team also signed former CFL cornerback Delvin Breaux this offseason and is hopeful last year’s second-round pick, Stanley Jean-Baptiste, will be in a better position to compete for snaps in training camp.
By bringing in Wilson, New Orleans has taken steps to plug the last remaining hole in its secondary and will no longer need to enter the draft with an immediate need in the secondary.
The biggest remaining needs the team will likely look to address on defense will be on the line and at linebacker. A cornerback could also still be selected, but it is no longer a top need.
On offense, the Saints could look to draft depth for the offensive line and a wide receiver or tight end.
New Orleans has nine picks in the draft, including two in the first round.