Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
The New Orleans Saints have been saying for weeks they won't be major players in free agency. That still may turn out to be true, but the Saints aren't going about it passively.
John Clayton reports the Saints contacted the agent for cornerback Ron Bartell soon after the free-agency period began, and have set up a visit for Friday. That doesn't mean the Saints, who are tight against the salary cap, will sign Bartell, but they're at least pursuing a player at one of the positions they need to address most.
New Orleans' secondary was a problem throughout much of last season, and adding a player like Bartell could help solidify things as new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams takes over.
Bartell, 27, was a second-round pick by the St. Louis Rams in 2005 and has been a starter most of the past two seasons. At 6-foot-1 and 209 pounds, he can line up against some of the league's bigger receivers.
The Saints have high hopes for Tracy Porter, who will be returning after an injury suffered near the midpoint of his rookie season. Veteran Mike McKenzie remains on the roster, but is recovering from his second major injury in two years.
The Saints also are expected to look for help at free safety, where Kevin Kaesviharn struggled much of last season.