Saints Get LB Back: Vilma, You're Home!

Blake StaffordContributor IFebruary 28, 2009

Free-agency salvation has finally come for New Orleans Saints fans.

Adam Shefter of NFL Network has reported that Jonathan Vilma has re-signed with the Saints. The deal is reportedly worth $34 million over the next five years.

This comes as a relief for the "Who Dat?" Nation, who were nervously awaiting this announcement.

As part of the trade agreement with the Jets, the Saints could not re-sign Vilma before the start of the free agency period unless they were willing to forgo their first-round pick.

The centerpiece to Gregg Williams' new defense is now in place for the next five years. So what's next for the Saints?

St. Louis Rams CB Ronald Bartell has planned a visit to the Saints facility, as has Gerald Sensabaugh of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Bartell is a a well-sized corner with above-average skills who had three interceptions while starting 14 games for the Rams. He would be a good addition to the Saints' cornerback corps, which currently includes Tracy Porter, Usama Young, Randall Gay and Mike McKenzie.

On the other hand, Sensabaugh is more of a question mark. The free safety from Jacksonville played under new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams last season and posted his best numbers as a pro, recording 70 tackles as well as four interceptions.

However, this free safety comes with a few risks attached to him. He has had three separate run-ins with the law, the latest coming this offseason for driving with a suspended license on Feb. 13.

It will be interesting to see if the Saints evaluate reward greater than risk with this up-and-coming 25-year-old safety.

But for today, Saints fans can breathe easy. The biggest free-agent acquisition this year will be a familiar someone in the No. 51 jersey.

Whether or not the Saints decide to sign any other middle-tier players remains to be seen, but at least they have their man in Jonathan Vilma.

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