A position-by-position look at where the New Orleans Saints stand heading into the 2016 offseason -- counting down from No. 13 to No. 1 in order of need for upgrades or replacements. At No. 5 is cornerback.
Current depth chart:
Keenan Lewis. Age 29, signed through 2017. 2016 salary and bonuses: $2.75 million ($2.7 million fully guaranteed). 2016 salary-cap number: $6.35 million.
Delvin Breaux. Age 26, scheduled to become restricted free agent in 2018. 2016 salary and bonuses: $525,000. 2016 salary-cap number: $529,000.
Brandon Browner. Age 31, signed through 2017 (but reportedly will be released this offseason). 2016 salary and bonuses: $5 million ($2.75 million fully guaranteed). 2016 salary-cap number: $6.3 million.
Damian Swann. Age 23, signed through 2018. 2016 salary and bonuses: $525,000. 2016 salary-cap number: at $571,808.
Kyle Wilson. Age 28, unrestricted free agent.
Brian Dixon. Age 25, scheduled to become restricted free agent in 2017. 2016 salary and bonuses: $525,000. 2016 salary-cap number: $525,000.
P.J. Williams. Age 22, signed through 2018. 2016 salary and bonuses: $550,000. 2016 salary-cap number: at $726,478.
Chris Owens. Age 29, unrestricted free agent.
Tony Carter. Age 29, signed through 2016. 2016 salary and bonuses: $885,000. 2016 salary-cap number: $600,000.
Brandon Dixon. Age 25, scheduled to become exclusive rights free agent in 2017. 2016 salary and bonuses: $525,000. 2016 salary-cap number: $525,000.
I was torn with where to rank this position, because the Saints so desperately need to improve their play in the secondary that it could rank as high as No. 1. But they actually have a good mix of talent and youth on the roster already.
The Saints don't really need an overhaul at the cornerback position -- they just need to stay healthy for once.
If Lewis can return to form after battling hip issues, then New Orleans should have a very solid starting duo in Lewis and Breaux, who surprisingly emerged as a No. 1 cornerback last season. A year ago, I ranked Lewis as the third-best player on New Orleans' roster. A return to that level would be terrific, but the Saints would probably settle for halfway-decent at this point.
Likewise, if Swann can stay concussion-free, he could emerge as New Orleans' nickel back after he showed promise in that role last year. And Williams could become a factor after the third-round draft pick spent last season on injured reserve with a summer hamstring injury.
That's a lot of "ifs," though. And the Saints badly need some good, consistent play from their cornerbacks as they try to turn around a defense that imploded last year. They set NFL records for most touchdown passes allowed and highest opponents' passer rating.
It would be surprising to see New Orleans invest heavily in another cornerback in free agency, especially after the failed signing of Browner last year. But it would make perfect sense to draft a cornerback early, especially with Lewis turning 30 in May.
Browner is technically still on the roster. But he will eventually be released, as ESPN's John Clayton confirmed earlier this month. The Saints are believed to be waiting until after March 9 to make it official for salary-cap purposes.