Dawson signed for the veteran minimum salary of $855,000, but he will only count $575,000 against the salary cap.
Dawson, 28, is a seven-year veteran who joined the Saints midway through last season after being released by the Tennessee Titans. The 6-foot-3, 258-pounder appeared in seven games, including the playoffs, as a backup linebacker and special teamer. He had a total of five tackles, one-half sack and a forced fumble.
Dawson’s biggest moment came in Week 12 at Atlanta, when he chased down receiver Darius Johnson to force a fumble in the red zone and help clinch a 17-13 victory. After the season, Saints director of player personnel Ryan Pace singled out the Dawson signing as a midseason move the team was proud of.
Dawson was one of 15 Saints scheduled to become unrestricted free agents on March 11.