Saints To Sign LB Alex Okafor

The Saints have agreed to terms with outside linebacker Alex Okafor, NFL reporter Rand Getlin tweets. It is a one-year deal worth up $3MM, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). This means Okafor is leaving the Cardinals, the only NFL team he has ever known. Alex Okafor

Okafor, 26, played through a torn bicep last season and didn’t have a great season. Still, teams recognized his potential and he had multiple suitors upon reaching free agency this month. Before the Saints deal came about, the Dolphins also showed interest in signing Okafor.

Okafor was only on the field for 231 last year, but he did line up with Arizona’s first string defense 12 times in 2014 and posted a career-high eight sacks. In 2015, he made 13 starts and notched 2.0 sacks. Last year, as a reserve, he had 3.5 sacks and eleven total tackles. He didn’t see enough action to qualify to be ranked, but Pro Football Focus gave him a 72.5 overall score, buoyed mainly by his pass rush work. With enough snaps, he could have placed somewhere in the late 50s amongst PFF’s 100+ qualified edge defenders.

The Saints currently project to start Craig Robertson and Dannell Ellerbe at outside linebacker with new addition A.J. Klein in the middle, though you can expect the team to seek an upgrade over Ellerbe. Okafor wll join fellow outside linebackers Hau’oli Kikaha, Nathan Stupar, and Travis Feeney in support. Middle linebacker Stephone Anthony, an underachieving former first-round pick, also remains under contract.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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