Three teams that should go after Kenny Vaccaro

HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 20: Will Fuller
HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 20: Will Fuller /

With the Saints shopping strong safety Kenny Vaccaro, which franchises should be going after the former first round pick?

Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro was benched in Sunday’s home loss to New England as trade rumours concerning the former first round pick continue to escalate.

CBS’ Jason La Canfora was the first to report the Saints’ intentions:

Vaccaro himself seemed confused about his benching, saying: “I know Gronk had two catches on me, really great catches, and that was about it.

“The next thing I know, I’m sitting next to Coach Payton.”

The fifth year pro also commented on the trade rumours calling them: “a little bit of a distraction, but at the same time, you gotta block that stuff out, be a pro and understand we’re trying to win a game.”

Vaccaro is the top safety in New Orleans and with a pass defense that has given up the most yards in the league through week two, it seems strange to be shopping him around.

However, with the former Longhorn in the final year of his contract, New Orleans may look to cash in on a valuable asset while they can. Their young depth at the position may prompt a trade sooner rather than later.

Multiple teams have reportedly been in contact, but who should be pursuing Vaccaro?

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys lost both their 2016 starters at safety in free agency. JJ Wilcox and Barry Church left for pastures anew and they haven’t been replaced adequately as yet.

Jeff Heath has stepped up into the starting role at strong safety whilst 2015 first round pick Byron Jones is starting alongside him having converted from cornerback.

The pair have looked vulnerable in coverage so far, particular against the Broncos in Denver on Sunday. Vaccaro would bring a veteran presence to an inexperienced and talent lacking safety group and help to shore up a shaky secondary.

His size and aggression will add an imposing presence over the middle and his ability to cover both tight ends and receivers to a high level would be invaluable to Rod Marinelli.

His range and hard-hitting would bolster a defense desperately in need of some impetus when facing the run. CJ Anderson and the Broncos ran all over the front seven in Sunday and Vaccaro could certainly help to load the box and stifle the rushing game.

He would certainly be an upgrade over Heath at strong safety and represent good value for a year at least.

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts desperately need playmakers on all three levels of the defense and Vaccaro would be an immediate starter in Ted Monachino’s unit.

Both the Rams and Cardinals passing attacks sliced through the secondary at times. Indy gave up over 300 yards passing to both teams.

Matthias Farley and TJ Green are the current strong safeties on the roster in the absence of Clayton Geathers. Vaccaro would be a welcome addition to a youthful position group.

First round pick Malik Hooker looks to a be dynamic, ballhawking free safety and having the Saints’ veteran alongside him would give the Colts a fearsome pairing. The former Texas standout would  add some much-needed size and physicality to an undersized defense that lacks bite.

The fifth year pro’s blitzing ability off the edge would help a weak pass rushing on passing downs. His veteran presence should also help Hooker, Green and co to find their feet a little faster.

Washington Redskins

Washington has a need at strong safety and Vaccaro, coming off his best year as a pro, would be an upgrade over Deshazor Everett.

Sandwiching the 26-year-old, with DJ Swearinger, between standout corners Josh Norman and Breshaud Breeland would give the Redskins one of the better secondaries in the NFC. His prowess in man coverage will help a team that gave up eighth most passing yards in 2016.

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Playing behind a strong linebacking core, Vaccaro would improve a smothering rush defense and provide an extra man to bring in blitz packages.

The Redskins’ lack of cap space means that would have get creative to add the dynamic safety. But his $5.7 million contract is hardly back-breaking for an NFL franchise. And, by offering the Saints a young player in return, Washington could create room if necessary.

Other teams that could look to pursue Vaccaro include the Lions and Patriots. Both teams are in need of adding depth in the secondary and have had shaky starts against the pass. Vaccaro would be a fit for both teams.

There is no guarantee that New Orleans pulls the trigger on the trade. But there would certainly be suitors aplenty for their starting safety.