Brian Poole, set to enter his sixth NFL season, has found a new home after spending the last two years with the NY Jets.
It appears that Brian Poole will not be a CB for the NYJ in 2021. According to Josina Anderson, he will be donning the black and gold for the New Orleans Saints.
Free agent DB Brian Poole tells me he intends to sign a 1-year deal with the New Orleans #Saints on Monday.
— IG: JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) July 25, 2021
Poole, 28, has spent the last two seasons with the Jets after opening his professional career with three years in Atlanta.
Despite the Jets’ struggles over the past couple of years, Poole emerged as a reliable defensive prescience, particularly in nickel situations. He made a reputation as a strong backfield invader from the slot, ranking third in blitzes from the slot since 2017 according to Next Gen Stats (behind Mike Hilton and Logan Ryan).
Over two seasons in green (23 games, 17 starts), Poole had 103 tackles and forced four turnovers (three interceptions and a forced fumble).
Injuries limited Poole to only nine games last season, but he had a strong 2019 season, ranking ninth in Pro Football Focus’ final cornerback ratings for the campaign. As recently as June, PFF placed him seventh in their rankings of the top ten slot cornerbacks entering the 2021 season.
“Poole profiles as one of the more impactful free agents still available following the two best seasons of his career with the New York Jets in 2019 and 2020,” list curator Ben Linsey writes of the Florida alum. “He has been the 13th-most valuable cornerback in the NFL over the past two seasons (per PFF WAR) despite missing half of the 2020 season due to injury. Poole has been particularly stingy in coverage over that time frame, allowing just 472 yards in over 600 slot coverage snaps.”
Poole’s 2019 was enough for the Jets to bestow him a one-year extension worth $5 million. Throughout his 23 games as a Jet, Poole allowed over 50 yards on throws into his coverage in only one game.
Thus, it remains surprising to many that Poole lingered this long on the free agent market. The Jets’ apparent passiveness toward re-signing him was particularly perplexing.
Third-year man Bless Austin and sophomore Bryce Hall are the projected starters, with journeymen (Corey Ballentine), more unproven youngsters (Javelin Guidry, Lamar Jackson), and draft picks (Michael Carter II, Jason Pinnock, Brandin Echols) situated behind them. To make matters even more surprising, the Jets have brought in Jeff Ulbrich, who oversaw Poole’s three years in Atlanta, to be their new defensive coordinator.
Poole will make his return to MetLife Stadium when the Saints pay a visit to the Jets on December 12.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags
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