Marcus Maye
NorthJersey.com-USA TODAY NETWORK

The Saints are reportedly signing former Jets safety Marcus Maye.

After an unhappy 2021 franchise tag year for Marcus Maye, the now-former Jets safety is headed to the Big Easy.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday night the Saints are signing Maye. Tom Pelissero added it’s a three-year, $28.5 million contract ($15 million guaranteed).

This comes after now-former Saints safety Marcus Williams agreed to a five-year, $70 million contract with the Ravens.

Maye will most definitely be a starter in that New Orleans secondary, which was 14th in the NFL with 224.8 passing yards allowed per game last season.

While there was a slight chance Maye could’ve remained in Florham Park, this departure doesn’t come as a surprise. It was unlikely Jets general manager Joe Douglas was to completely overspend on a new contract for Maye after franchise tagging him and subsequently failing to agree on an extension in 2021. Not to mention, Maye’s Week 9 season-ending Achilles tear this past year certainly lowered his value.

It was always much more Douglas-esque for the Jets to address this position in the draft and/or add a free agent at a cheaper average annual value than what Maye would’ve earned. Maye’s new AAV is $9.5 million, while Jordan Whitehead (who the Jets are signing to a two-year deal) will earn an AAV of $7.25 million.

The Jets may also target Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton in the first round, whether that be at No. 4 or 10 overall (if he’s even available at either pick). It’s all about depth in the secondary, and the Jets had (and still have) the resources to resolve that issue without budging on a new contract for Maye.

But the organization isn’t just making the safety position a priority this offseason — Joe Douglas has also been addressing the cornerback spot and could continue to do so in the draft. The Jets will be signing former Seahawks cornerback D.J. Reed to a three-year, $33 million deal. Douglas could target LSU’s Derek Stingley Jr. or Cincinnati’s Sauce Gardner in the opening round as well.

The Jets were 30th in the NFL last year with 259.4 average passing yards allowed — the defensive backfield was always an area in need of a fix ahead of the 2022 campaign.

Follow Ryan Honey on Twitter: @RyanHoneyESNY

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Ryan Honey is a senior NFL analyst, betting writer, and podcaster for Elite Sports NY. He hosts the Wide Right Podcast, which serves as both a New York Giants podcast and sports betting show.