Atlanta worked out former Saint Jonathan Vilma on Wednesday, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport. Fox Sports’ Mike Garafolo then reported the Falcons wouldn’t sign Vilma after the workout, at least not immediately.
Rapoport previously reported Vilma was someone Atlanta might look at to replace injured linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, who recently suffered a season-ending ruptured Achilles tendon injury. Vilma, meanwhile, has had recurring knee problems.
From 2008 to 2010, Vilma led the Saints in solo tackles resulting in failed plays for opponents, according to the website Pro Football Focus. He accounted for nine takeaways during that time span and helped the Saints win Super Bowl XLIV.
But Vilma, a three-time Pro Bowl selection who began his pro career with the New York Jets from 2004-07, sat out five games with knee problems in 2011. He also spent the first six weeks of 2012 on the physically unable to perform list as he recovered from an offseason knee procedure. He then missed 17 of the Saints’ 18 games in 2013 after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery prior to the season.
Early this offseason, amidst a veteran salary purge, the Saints announced they would not re-sign Vilma when his contract expired in March. The same day of that announcement, the team said it intended to release three of Vilma’s defensive teammates who helped New Orleans win its lone Super Bowl: cornerback Jabari Greer, pass-rusher Will Smith and safety Roman Harper.
Smith was signed by New England. Harper is with Carolina, another of the Saints’ divisional rivals. Greer remains unsigned.