The New Orleans Saints are considering a familiar option for their vacant center position. They brought in former starter Jonathan Goodwin for a free-agent visit on Wednesday, according to a league source.
There doesn’t appear to be a contract offer in place yet. But Goodwin, 35, would obviously make a lot of sense for New Orleans as a veteran option to compete with second-year pro Tim Lelito.
Goodwin started for the Saints from 2008-2010, making the Pro Bowl and helping them win the Super Bowl in 2009. The 6-foot-3, 318-pounder then left for a more lucrative offer with the San Francisco 49ers in 2011 and started every game over the past three years.
But now Goodwin is available again since the 49ers have decided to move on to younger options.
Goodwin has been on the Saints’ radar as an option throughout this offseason. Perhaps that’s part of the reason why they felt comfortable letting their own veteran starter, Brian de la Puente, get away in free agency. The Saints surprisingly didn't put up a fight to keep de la Puente, who signed just a one-year deal worth $795,000 with the Chicago Bears.
The Saints are high on Lelito’s potential, as both coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis have mentioned multiple times this offseason. But Lelito is still a raw talent, who was undrafted last year out of Grand Valley State, and his only NFL experience has been at guard so far.
Goodwin would give the Saints a more proven option. And he would obviously fit seamlessly into both the offense and the locker room. His experience over the past three years with one of the best and most sophisticated rushing offenses in the NFL won’t hurt his case, either.