Saint David: The Colts, as expected, couldn't match the Saints' offer sheet for starting cornerback Jason David. The deadline was Thursday night at midnight and nfl.com broke the news this morning that the Colts had officially declined.
Slated to start at right cornerback across from Mike McKenzie, David brings a much needed injection of youth to the cornerback spot. And despite his youth, David, 25, has 49 career starts and a Super Bowl ring.
The new four-year contract is $15.6 million with $6.5 million in guaranteed bonuses.
Draft Strategery Changes: The Saints have known that was probably coming on board for a week, but the success in negotiations with Charles Grant on Thursday takes a big pointer off the Saints' needs list. With Grant only on a one year deal and his relationship with the team only doomed to worsen, a new long-term solution at left defensive was a definite target early in the draft.
With Grant under contract, 2006 fifth round pick Rob Ninkovich as a promising situational player and veteran Willie Whitehead a capable reserve, the Saints are pretty much set at the position. Ninkovich was good enough as a rookie to enter the 2006 season as the first end off the bench. Even though Will Smith has two years left on his contract and will be negotiating a deal even bigger than Grants next offseason, a high-round investment at the position won't make financial sense.
As for David, his arrival as starting cornerback doesn't eliminate the position from the team's draft needs. But it does bump veterans Jason Craft and Fred Thomas down the depth chart. Thomas renegotiated his contract two months ago and took a pay cut, while Craft is solid as a nickel cornerback. There is a good chance the Saints take a cornerback in the draft, possibly still in the first round, even though McKenzie and David are well-paid and established starters.
Notes: Saints TE Mark Campbell has been commissioned by the Tribeca Film Festival and Verizon Wireless to make a short, mobile phone tailored film. Campbell and two other rising directors were picked... Reggie Bush and equipment maker Schutt have partnered to donate money and new equipment to schools across the country. His first two grants are to public schools in New York and New Orleans...