April 24, 2002

Free Agent CB Irvin Bolsters Secondary

The Saints have signed veteran free agent CB Ken Irvin to a one-year contract worth $650,000. He is expected to challenge for the #3 cornerback position behind Fred Thomas and Dale Carter.

5'11, A fourth-round pick out of Memphis in 1995, Irvin's $3.3 million cap number was one of the main reasons for his release.

Irvin is entering his eighth season in the league after spending the past seven years as a steady starter in Buffalo, appearing in 108 regular season games and made 54 starts at cornerback. Irvin started every game he played in between 1998 and 2000, but last year fell down the depth chart behind first-round pick Nate Clements.

Then the Bills defensive coaching staff promoted surprising 6'1" cornerback Chris Watson to nickel back and Irvin ended up playing very little in the second half of the season. Throughout, however, Irvin reportedly took the demotions with class and didn't become a problem in the locker room.

Irvin was released on February 28 by the Bills, and was also placed on the Bills' expansion draft list to the Houston Texans.

Irvin has seven interceptions in his career and while not regarded as a very fast player, has solid mechanics and technique. He also has plenty of starting experience in the NFL and was part of the NFL's top defense in 1999.

The addition of Irvin and Keyou Craver in the NFL draft signals the imminent release of starting CB Kevin Mathis, who because of a neck injury has slipped to #3 on the depth chart now. Mathis may be released after June 1 because of a high salary cap number.

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