August 20, 2012

Desperate for Linebackers, Saints Trade for Ruud

The Saints have traded for veteran middle linebacker Barrett Ruud in response to a plague of injuries at the position.

To recap: last year's starter Jonathan Vilma is suspended for the season.

Free agent addition Curtis Lofton, plucked from the Falcons, suffered a high ankle sprain against Jacksonville on Friday night, though Joe Vitt says he could be ready to play for the regular season.

Ramon Humber is next in line, and has been with the Saints for the past season and a half, but was a free agent until August 6 when the Saints re-signed him.  Humber faces a three-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy to start the season.

Free agent addition David Hawthorne, who has experience at middle linebacker but has been working at weakside, suffered a torn meniscus in his knee which required surgery today.  His status for the regular season is in doubt.

Backup OLB Lawrence Wilson will miss the first game due to a substance abuse policy suspension as well.  With OLB Chris Chamberlain already out for the season with a severe knee injury, the Saints are in full out emergency mode at linebacker.

This sets the stage for the acquisition of Ruud, who was a once a rising star MLB for the Bucs, and started in Tampa Bay from 2007-2010. He played in Tennessee last season and signed on with the Seahawks this offseason, but thanks to knee and shoulder injuries, he lost his starting job to rookie second round pick Bobby Wagner.  He missed seven games in 2011 with the Titans because of groin, knee and shoulder injuries, and wasn't re-signed because he lost his starting job to rookie Colin McCarthy.

In six games against the Saints from 2008-2010, Ruud has 42 tackles.  A second round pick of the Bucs out of Nebraska in 2005, Ruud was taken four picks ahead of his teammate Josh Bullocks, picked by the Saints with the 40th overall pick.

The Saints traded an undisclosed future draft pick for Ruud, who will make a base salary of $825,000 in 2012.

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