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Manti Te'o Reportedly Agrees to Contract with Saints After 4 Years with Chargers

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2017

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 11:  Linebacker Manti Te'o #50 of the San Diego Chargers drops into coverage against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half on September 11, 2016 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)
Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints strengthened their defense Tuesday with the reported addition of linebacker Manti Te'o.

According to ESPN.com's Mike Triplett, Te'o and the Saints came to terms on a two-year contract. Nick Underhill of the Advocate confirmed the move.

Te'o missed all but three games in the 2016 season due to a torn Achilles, and his injury issues could be a reason the Los Angeles Chargers did not re-sign the linebacker.

In four seasons since being drafted in the second round, Te'o has been limited to just 38 games, never playing more than 13 in a single season.

The 26-year-old has been a solid contributor when healthy, tallying 83 tackles in 12 games during his best season in 2015. Coaches also love his work ethic.

"He lives and dies football every single day," former Chargers coach Mike McCoy said, per Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

While he has shown solid instincts and effort at this level, the challenge has simply been the inability to stay healthy.

Te'o is well known for his play at Notre Dame, helping lead the Fighting Irish to the 2012 national title game. He also finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting that season behind only Johnny Manziel.

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His career with the Chargers hasn't exactly gone according to plan, but a fresh start with a new team will hopefully bring more luck to the talented player. If he can stay on the field, Te'o will also add some extra toughness to the Saints defense.

New Orleans ranked 27th in the NFL in total yardage allowed last season and 31st in points allowed.

The Saints already added former Carolina Panther A.J. Klein to their linebacker corps in free agency, and bringing in Te'o is another step in the reconstruction of that level of their defense.

Along with Stephone Anthony and Dannell Ellerbe, New Orleans now has solid linebacker depth, which could be a significant step toward exiting the basement of the NFL defensively.

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