Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Saints Sign Bucs DE Wilkerson

In a move that solidifies the Black and Gold's troublesome defensive line, the Saints signed former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson.

Wilkerson, an unrestricted free agent, made 46 tackles, 2 forced fumbles and 6 sacks in 2009. For those of you keeping track at home, that's 2 more tackles, 1 more forced fumble and a half-sack more than released defensive end Charles Grant, making the new addition a slight upgrade on the field and far less of a financial and public relations burden to the team.

As Wilkerson was an UFA, the Saints cannot sign any additional unrestricted free agents until another Saints UFA signs with another team. Thanks to the large contract linebacker Scott Fujita accepted from the Cleveland Browns, the Saints were able to make a competitive offer to Wilkerson despite the "Rule of Four".

However the "Rule of Four" restrictions do not prevent the Saints from signing a player that has been released from his team.

According to NFL.com, Wilkerson agreed to a one year deal.

With Wilkerson and former Chicago Bears defensive end Alex Brown joining a team that already includes defensive ends Will Smith, Bobby McCray and Jeff Charleston, the team is unlikely to pursue a defensive end in the early rounds of the 2010 NFL Draft.

Furthermore, Wilkerson's signing is likely the last of the team's significant free agency moves.

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