Kristian: Saints getting dirty in free agency
The Saints have their eye on a "dirty" bird in free agency.
New Orleans has scheduled a visit with free agent middle linebacker Curtis Lofton. The Saints currently have visits scheduled with four linebackers in free agency. Lofton is a four year veteran with a pension for stuffing the run. With the Atlanta Falcons in 2011, the former 2nd round pick racked up 147 tackles. Wow! That's flying around! I love this move for the Black and Gold if they are able to get a deal done with Lofton. He's 25-years-old (4 years younger than current middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma) and extremely durable. Lofton hasn't missed a game in his four years in the NFL due to injury.
Lofton is outstanding against the run, but WWL's Bobby Hebert thinks the Saints might have to come up with another answer on third down as the "nickel" backer.
"He's a little bit of a liability in pass coverage, he can be exposed there. So you might need to look at someone that is more athletic on passing downs," Hebert said.
Lofton is a clear cut middle linebacker. He isn't being brought in to fill a void at outside linebacker or provide depth inside. Clearly the Saints are thinking about life post-Vilma. If the Saints sign Lofton, it's a virtual certainty that Vilma will be released.
"It's always better to get rid of a player a year too early than a year too late," said NFL analyst Mike Detillier.
The Saints "master plan" is starting to come into focus. New Orleans wants to upgrade their linebacking positions. The team will also visit with linebackers David Hawthorne, Joe Mays and Chris Chamberlain in the coming days.