Brian Allee-Walsh

Is Saints CB Delvin Breaux going, going, gone? The clear trend ain’t good.

Oakland Raiders running back Taiwan Jones (22) carries against New Orleans Saints cornerback Delvin Breaux (40) in New Orleans, Sept. 11, 2016.
Oakland Raiders running back Taiwan Jones (22) carries against New Orleans Saints cornerback Delvin Breaux (40) in New Orleans, Sept. 11, 2016. AP

Availability.

There’s that word again from the mouth of New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton who appears to be losing his patience with oft-injured cornerback Delvin Breaux.

Breaux has missed nine practices, one pre-season game and likely a second with a gimpy left leg, resulting in his demotion from first to second team and perhaps out the door in New Orleans.

The New Orleans Advocate reported Monday that the Saints are trying to trade Breaux, a report Payton neither confirmed nor denied. Payton cited club confidentiality on such matters, emphasized the importance of being available to play and expressed confidence in the team’s depth at cornerback.

Time will tell if Breaux is going, going, gone.

But if Breaux doesn’t shed his walking boot and crutches soon, he might go the way of veteran defenders Dannell Ellerbe and Keenan Lewis who were released unceremoniously because they couldn’t stay on the field.

In two short years, Breaux — a budding star who overcame a broken neck in high school to reach the pinnacle of football — has gone from the team’s No. 1 cover corner to perhaps out of sight, out of mind on a defense struggling to gain respectability under coordinator Dennis Allen.

The cornerbacks currently in the team’s good graces are P.J. Williams, Ken Crawley, De’Vante Harris, Sterling Moore, top draft pick Marshon Lattimore, Damian Swann and Arthur Maulet.

Besides Breaux, only Moore is a proven NFL commodity. The Saints represent his sixth team since entering the league as an undrafted rookie in 2011. That said, he was a godsend last season after joining the club on the eve of Week 1. He has started 31 games, including a career-high 12 last season.

Here’s a snapshot of the Saints other top cornerbacks:

▪  Williams is a third-round pick (2015). He missed the entire ’15 season with a torn hamstring and was limited to two games (both starts) last season because of concussion issues.

▪  Crawley is an undrafted free agent (2016). He started five games last season and was credited with 43 tackles.

▪  Harris is an undrafted free agent (2016). He played in 10 games last season and was credited with 12 tackles.

▪  Lattimore is the 11th overall pick from April’s draft. He played one full season at Ohio State while dealing with hamstring issues with the Buckeyes. He has been a non-factor since spraining a knee July 31.

▪  Swann is a fifth-round pick (2015). He started two games in ’15 before suffering three concussions over a nine-week span. He spent the ’16 season on IR with concussion issues.

▪  Maulet is an undrafted rookie free agent (2017).

With regards to Breaux, he, too, is a former undrafted rookie with no college football experience. He overcame a serious injury at McDonogh 35 High School in New Orleans, then proved himself in three pro leagues before catching on with the Saints in 2015.

In two seasons, Breaux has started 22 games, including all 16 as a rookie in 2015. Last season, a broken fibula and shoulder injury limited him to six starts.

Now Breaux is dealing with another injury, causing him once again to stand on the sideline.

And that doesn’t sit well with his bosses.

Brian Allee-Walsh is a long-time Saints reporter based in New Orleans. He can be reached at sports@sunherald.com.

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