Former San Diego Chargers and Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o is reportedly closing in on a deal with the New Orleans Saints.
I am told by a source that free-agent LB Mantei Te'o is close to a deal with the Saints, could sign Tuesday. https://t.co/AzZqvNTpCi
— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) March 20, 2017
Before the catfishing scandal that rocked Te’o’s world heading into the 2013 NFL Draft, he was considered to be one of the top linebacker prospects in that class. However, the scandal, and his response to it, caused his draft stock to slip a bit.
San Diego took a bit of a risk by selecting Te’o in the second round of the draft, and he did give them some solid play. Starting 31 games in his first three years, Te’o’s 2016 campaign was cut short when he suffered a torn Achilles tendon in Week 3, ending his season.
Since entering the league, Te’o has registered 233 total tackles, 1.5 sacks, two interceptions and one forced fumble.
The Saints recently signed former Carolina Panthers linebacker A.J. Klein, who was one of the most underrated players landed by any team this year in free agency. He joins Dannell Ellerbe, Craig Robertson and Stephone Anthony to form a much improved linebacking corps.
Adding Te’o would only further add to what will likely be a spirited competition for starting spots on a defense that has been historically bad in recent years.