The New Orleans Saints are being pro-active as they work to replace linebackers this season.
That much is certain.
Sensing Jonathan Vilma wouldn’t be available because of his role in the bounty scandal – or because of his health – the team made a splash addition in free agency by signing Curtis Lofton away from the division rival Atlanta Falcons. Now, he’s on the shelf with a high-ankle sprain, the kind of issue that can linger and linger.
Meanwhile, David Hawthorne has had surgery to repair a minor knee injury and Chris Chamberlain suffered a torn ACL. It was time to act and the Saints did that Monday night, dealing an undisclosed draft pick to the Seattle Seahawks for Barrett Ruud, another veteran they are familiar with after his time in the division with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Ruud is an experienced inside linebacker who should be able to fill in. He never got paid quite like he thought he would in Tampa and wound up playing half a season with the Tennessee Titans last year before a groin injury knocked him out. He was also dealing with knee and shoulder injuries.
If he is fully healed, Ruud’s addition makes perfect sense for the Saints. He can be a productive player for Steve Spagnuolo. With any luck, and the Saints haven’t had much of that lately, Lofton will not be out too long.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune