Nov 12, 2017; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New Orleans Saints cornerback Ken Crawley (20) breaks up a pass to Buffalo Bills wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (13) during the first half at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
The New Orleans Saints have placed the original-round tender on restricted free agent cornerback Ken Crawley. An original-round tender is a one-year contract which will be worth a guaranteed $2.025 million, and it means that the Saints can now match any offer that Crawley receives from another team.
The start of Crawley’s career has gone about as smoothly as one might expect from a former undrafted free agent that has always shown the big-play, big-game ability, but he has also shown a propensity to give up big plays in big games. He had an up-and-down rookie season in 2016, the good: He showed the ability to find and make plays on the football, as evidenced by his Week 11 game against the Carolina Panthers in which he broke up both of the targets that were sent his way and earned an elite overall grade of 91.6. The bad: He gave up far too many big plays, as evidenced by his Week 8 game against the Seattle Seahawks in which he allowed all five of his targets to be completed for 73 yards. At the end of the year, Crawley had had more rough outings than good ones; he allowed a catch rate of 65.5 percent and a passer rating of 101.2 – the 88th- and 93rd-best marks, respectively, among cornerbacks with at least 25 targets.
Along with the rest of the Saints’ secondary, Crawley took a huge step forward in 2017, and he teamed up with rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore to form one of the better cornerback tandems in the NFL. He elevated his playmaking ability by breaking up 13 passes throughout the year, and he allowed just 50.0 percent of the passes thrown into his primary coverage to be caught, which was tied for…