The New Orleans Saints signed free-agent linebacker David Hawthorne to a five-year deal on Tuesday afternoon, according to the team's official Twitter account. Hawthorne joins Curtis Lofton and Chris Chamberlain as the third free-agent linebacker signed by the Saints this offseason.
Hawthorne, signed by the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted free agent out of TCU in 2008, has been a mainstay in the Seahawks' lineup over the last three seasons, starting the majority of games in the middle linebacker spot during that span.
The Saints have Jonathan Vilma under contract through 2013, but he may be facing a suspension from the league for his role in the Saints bounty program. Either Hawthorne or Lofton could replace Vilma in the middle, with the other taking reps as the team's strongside linebacker. Chamberlain will probably slot in at the weakside, where new Saints defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo played him most of last season during their time together with the St. Louis Rams.
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