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Friday, March 23, 2012
Saints add LB Chris Chamberlain

By Pat Yasinskas

After courting a bunch of free-agent linebackers, the New Orleans Saints finally signed one.

The team just announced it has signed Chris Chamberlain, who had been with the St. Louis Rams since 2008. Chamberlain is an outside linebacker, who has appeared in 59 games with 19 career starts and also has been a regular on special teams.

Saints defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was the head coach in St. Louis for the last three seasons and is obviously familiar with Chamberlain. I don’t think this is the end of the Saints' attempt to beef up their linebacker corps. Chamberlain likely will compete with Scott Shanle, Jonathan Casillas and Martez Wilson for playing time on the outside.

The Saints also have shown interest in several middle linebackers. That’s likely because there is uncertainty about the future of Jonathan Vilma. He could face a suspension for his role in the bounty program. Vilma also is coming off knee surgery and is carrying a $7.6 million salary-cap figure. The Saints are very tight against the salary cap and could be forced to release Vilma or restructure his contract.