NFL Free Agency 2012: Are Saints Preparing to Let Go of Vilma for Curtis Lofton?
NFL free agency has been crazy so far. All NFL teams analyzing and overanalyzing their current issues and trying to address them via free agency.
The New Orleans Saints have a few issues of their own to deal with, but have taken care of some through free agency:
- Re-sign Marques Colston. Check.
- Replace guard Carl Nicks. Check—the Saints signed former Baltimore Ravens guard Ben Grubbs to a five-year, $36 million deal.
But, of course, they still have plenty of other concerns they need to address. Namely, Drew Brees.
The other: their defense (ranked 23rd last season). Let's face it, the Saints' defense had big flaws; aside from an anemic pass rush, the Saints' linebackers and their tackling have been suspect at times throughout the season.
The Saints brought in Steve Spagnuolo to fix their defense. With that may come a change in personnel. One of those changes may be at middle linebacker. Jonathan Vilma's spot.
According to NFL Network's Jason La Canfora, the Saints are showing interest in former Atlanta Falcons linebacker Curtis Lofton and are scheduling a visit with him. They have also scheduled visits with two other linebackers for this week.
Does this mean the Saints are preparing to release Vilma? Not necessarily. The team is just looking at their options right now. But does it make sense? Yes.
Vilma—who has had a good career so far—has been a leader and key player on defense for the Saints since 2008, but his fall-off in production plus the knee injury he sustained last season has to be taken into consideration. Plus, the fact that he's turning 30 and his possible suspension for his alleged involvement in "bounty gate" can't help his cause. Releasing Vilma will also create some cap space that may help in signing Drew Brees to a long-term deal.
Bringing Curtis Lofton in wouldn't be a bad thing. The 26-year-old is a great linebacker who has produced good numbers for the Atlanta Falcons. In his four years in the league, he has accumulated 492 tackles, four sacks, seven forced fumbles, 15 passes defended and three interceptions.
It will be interesting what the Saints' next move is with this "interest." Stay tuned, WhoDat Nation.
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