The first free agent addition by the Saints in the new collective bargaining agreement is set to be former Seattle linebacker Will Herring.
Herring's agent confirmed the report. Herring will sign a new three years contract after teams are allowed to sign free agents on Friday afternoon at 5pm central.
Mainly a special teams player for Seattle, Herring, 6'3, 241, is entering his fifth season out of Auburn University and a fifth round pick of the Seahawks in 2007. He has seven starts in four seasons, six of them came in 2009 because of injuries to starters Leroy Hill and Aaron Curry.
Against the Saints in the playoffs in January, Herring did not start but had five total tackles; three solo, one assist and one on special teams. He was credited with a pass defense on the second to last play of the first half that prevented a Brees to David Thomas touchdown pass from the Seattle 3 yard line. The Saints instead settled for a field goal.
Herring played all three linebacker positions for the Saints, and was rumored to be looking to leave Seattle for a team that would allow him to compete for a starting position.
The Saints have six unrestricted free agent linebackers on the open market right now, including the core of their special teams. Starter Scott Shanle and reserves Jo-Lonn Dunbar, Anthony Waters, Danny Clark, Kawika Mitchell, and Marvin Mitchell are all free to sign elsewhere.
Unless the Saints re-sign one of those players or add another free agent, Herring's competition for a starting job will be rookie 2nd round pick Martez Wilson and veteran Jonathan Casillas, who was set to start before being lost in preseason last year.
With Herring set to sign on Friday afternoon, the Saints have only 71 of 90 players accounted for on their training camp roster.