We finally have the first new Saint of 2010, and its a treat for defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
Former Bears DE Alex Brown, a scourge during the past two games against New Orleans, has reportedly agreed to a two-year deal.
Brown was prepared to visit both Tampa Bay and Carolina in coming days, so its possible the Saints wanted to strike fast before he could help a rival.
With the departure of DE Charles Grant, Brown arrives to help fill a void at defensive end.
The Saints return starting star Will Smith and rotation players Bobby McCray and Jeff Charleston. McCray started during the Saints' playoff run with Grant out with a triceps injury.
Brown, the 2001 SEC Defensive Player of the Year while at the University of Florida, was an excellent fourth round pick of the Bears. Brown has not missed a game since his rookie year, has been a dependable edge rusher for Chicago and a high-character locker room presence. McCracy and Brown were teammates at Florida under former Saints defensive coordinator Ron Zook.
The Saints hope Brown adds more pass rush for the team as Brown looks to add to his 43.5 career NFL sacks.
Brown, because he was cut by the Bears on April 1, does not count as the Saints' free agent to replace Scott Fujita in the Final 8 rules of this final CBA year. The Saints may still sign a free agent at or below the first year contract values of Fujita's deal with the Browns.
Mickey Loomis is trying to be approaching this season like the last: use free agency to fill immediate needs, enter the draft with the luxury to consider the best player available.
The Saints cut starting RDE Charles Grant, lost starting SLB Scott Fujita and have yet to re-sign free agent starting FS Darren Sharper.
Fujita looks to be replaced with in-house, specifically by Stanley Arnoux, a second-year draft pick whom the Saints have high hopes for, and veteran Troy Evans, a special teams ace.
Sharper's replacement, should he not return, was burnt in the Super Bowl - free safety and ersatz cornerback Usama Young.
While the 32nd overall pick in the draft will likely be used on defense, it can do nothing but add more youth to two positions, SLB and FS, where the Saints already have plenty of youth.
UPDATE: Outspoken Saints TE Jeremy Shockey wrote a twitter message confirming the news shortly after it broke via ESPN's Adam Schefter: "id like to welcome alex brown to the saints!! lookin fwd to havin him as a teammate"
UPDATE: Wednesday night Brown wrote: "Who Dat!!!!!! Happy to be a Saint! Joining a great team and I am really excited to get going. Looking forward to a special year."