March 21, 2012

Amidst Suspensions, Saints Sign Top FA DT Bunkley

One of the top defensive free agents of the season and the top free agent defensive tackle on the market has agreed to sign with the Saints under heavy stormclouds - both figuratively and literally.

DT Brodrick Bunkley, 28, has signed a five-year, $25 million deal with $9 million guaranteed.
At 6'2, 306, Bunkley is a quiet performer in the run game and fills one of the Saints' biggest need positions.  Sedrick Ellis and Bunkley are now the de facto starters, with rotation tackles Shaun Rogers and Aubrayo Franklin on the free agent market.  

The Saints reportedly had nearly $3 million in salary cap space before the Bunkley signing.

After ex-Raven Ben Grubbs, Bunkley is the second free agent signing of the Saints this offseason.
Bunkley was one of the top run-stuffing defensive tackles in the league last year, enjoying a resurgence with the Denver Broncos in 2011 after five years as a middling player for the Philadelphia Eagles.  In 13 starts, Bunkley recorded 43 tackles.  Bunkley will wear #77, the number he wore in Denver.

As an Eagle, Bunkley did not record any stats in two games against the Saints in 2006, but recorded three tackles in their 2007 victory in New Orleans.  He recorded one tackle and two assists in the Eagles' 2009 loss in Philadelphia to the Saints.  

The Saints have some indirect history with Bunkley.  The Eagles made him their first round pick in 2006, and the next day traded dispensable DT Hollis Thomas to the Saints.  Thomas started the next two seasons for the Saints.

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