Saints To Sign LB A.J. Klein

The Saints are signing linebacker A.J. Klein, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The Saints have been prioritizing defensive help this offseason, particularly help in the front seven.

Klein might not be the only defensive pickup the Saints make today if the rumored Malcolm Butler-for-Brandon Cooks deal is completed.

Klein was said to be seeking a starting job this offseason. He will move on from the Panthers after playing alongside the likes of Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis and join a Saints team that’s had issues at this position. Former first-round pick Stephone Anthony has not been able to provide clear evidence he’s going to be a long-term answer, and the Saints moved him from middle ‘backer to the strong side in the offseason.

A 25-year-old fifth-year player, Klein will join a linebacking corps that houses Anthony, Dannell Ellerbe and Craig Robertson. Kuechly’s 2016 injury opened the door for more Klein playing time; he made seven starts but only accumulated 29 tackles. As a part-time starter in 2014-15, Klein made 39 and 48 stops, respectively, while vacillating from the middle to the outside in Carolina’s 4-3 scheme. New Orleans pivoted back to a 4-3 look recently, so Klein won’t have as steep of a learning curve as he would going to a 3-4 team.

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