James Laurinaitis Reportedly Signs with New Orleans Saints

Joe PantornoFeatured Columnist

St. Louis Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis looks to the sideline during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)
L.G. Patterson/Associated Press

Free-agent linebacker James Laurinaitis was on the market after the Los Angeles Rams cut him on Feb. 19, and he has reportedly found a new home. 

Continue for updates.

Laurinaitis Reportedly Signing with Saints 

Wednesday, March 16 

NFL Network's Rand Getlin reported that Laurinaitis agreed to terms with the New Orleans Saints

Laurinaitis left a meeting with the Saints without a deal on March 1, according to ESPN.com's Mike Triplett, who added "there still appears to be mutual interest."  

Laurinaitis to Meet with Multiple Teams

Saturday, March 12

Laurinitis' father, Joe Laurinaitis, tweeted that the linebacker planned to meet with the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots, Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants.  

Laurinaitis to Meet with Falcons

Sunday, March 6

ESPN's Adam Schefter, citing a source, reported Laurinaitis "is scheduled to visit [the] Falcons on Monday and Tuesday."

Laurinaitis Has Declined but Still Has Value

After seven years with the Rams organization, Los Angeles surprisingly cut Laurinaitis alongside tight end Jared Cook and defensive end Chris Long. 

Laurinaitis, a second-round selection by the Rams in 2009, left as the franchise's all-time leader in solo tackles with 653. His numbers have experienced a dip over the past three seasons, but he recorded over 100 total tackles in each of his first seven years.

He was a well-respected presence among the Rams linebackers, and he became a leader on the team. The leadership translated onto the field thanks to his physical, athletic play, as the Rams showed:

He's the kind of linebacker the Saints are desperate for. New Orleans had the 31st-ranked defense in the league last season, allowing more than 410 yards per game. Only the New York Giants had a worse defense (420). 

There was a lack of consistency at linebacker in New Orleans, as eight players appeared at the position in 2015 with little success. It has one solid piece at the position in 23-year-old Stephone Anthony, who led the team in total tackles (112) in his rookie season. 

The Saints did restructure the deal of Dannell Ellerbe, who was plagued by injuries last season, for a return. But New Orleans released David Hawthorne and Ramon Humber, two linebackers who started a combined nine games in 2015. 

Laurinaitis could provide the Saints defense with a true linebacker who has had plenty of success in the league. He'd anchor the unit and help the development of Anthony, who showed in his rookie year that he's capable of having a successful NFL career.


Stats courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com.