Former Saints linebacker Kiko Alonso is attempting to catch on with the team again. The 2013 second-round pick has not played in a game since spending the 2019 season with the Saints, but Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets the Saints are holding an audition.
This workout also includes former Washington starter Jon Bostic and veteran Anthony Hitchens. The Saints were interested in Anthony Barr as well, but the longtime Vikings starter signed with the Cowboys.
Alonso, Hitchens and Bostic each have at least seven years’ experience. Hitchens and Bostic both worked as starters last season, but an early-season pectoral injury cut Bostic’s run short. The Chiefs released Hitchens earlier this offseason, cutting bait four years into a five-year contract. Alonso was last with a team in 2020, but his 49ers stay — which ended in November of that year — did not come with any regular-season action.
The Saints moved on from Alonso in 2020, trading him to the 49ers in the Kwon Alexander in-season swap. Set to turn 32 next week, Alonso has not been on a team since the 49ers cut him weeks after that deal. While Alonso began the 2020 season on the Saints’ PUP list, stemming from his January 2020 ACL tear, he played 13 games for the Saints in 2019 and started four. Prior to his New Orleans arrival, the Oregon alum strung together back-to-back-to-back seasons of at least 115 tackles with the Dolphins.
Hitchens, 30, kept his Chiefs starting job despite the presences of Nick Bolton and Willie Gay. The former Cowboys draftee nearly played out the five-year, $45MM contract he signed with the Chiefs in 2018. Hitchens started in two Super Bowls, though his Kansas City usage rate dropped after the 2018 season. The run-stopping ‘backer went from an 85% defensive snap rate in 2018 to sub-70% in each of his final three Chiefs slates.
After reviving his career in Washington, Bostic saw the pec injury blunt his momentum. After one-year stints as a starter with the Colts (2017) and Steelers (’18), Bostic spent the past three seasons with Washington. In his most recent full season, the ex-second-round pick totaled 118 tackles and three sacks. Bostic, now 31, landed a two-year, $5MM extension from Washington in 2020.
Demario Davis still leads New Orleans’ linebacking corps; he signed a one-year, $12MM extension earlier this summer. The Saints used second- and third-round picks at this position over the past two years, drafting Pete Werner and Zack Baun on Day 2. The Saints let Alexander walk this offseason; the veteran signed with the Jets last week. Any member of audition group to sign would vie for time alongside the two Day 2 picks and Wilson, who signed with the team in May.