Should the New Orleans Saints target linebacker Vontaze Burfict?
The New Orleans Saints may watch AJ Klein leave this offseason. With linebacker an ever-growing problem, could the team look at Vontaze Burfict for the much-needed help? After all, Burfict was reinstated from his suspension.
Burfict was suspended for 12 games following an absolutely brutal helmet-to-helmet hit on Colts’ tight end Jack Doyle.
If this were Burfict’s first incident, it likely wouldn’t have been such a harsh penalty, but in Cincinnati, Burfict was responsible for several hits that eventually led to suspensions. He has been suspended four times throughout his career, totaling over 20 games he’s had to miss.
Burfict is known as one of the league’s dirtiest players for his on-field hits.
However, Burfict has apparently been reading and learning the league’s code of conduct, his agent told NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
What that actually means and how it results in his on-field changes are really only for the team that takes a chance on him to know until every team and fans will get another look at the veteran linebacker.
He’s seemingly trying to right his wrongs, but will he be given a chance to do so? That’s tough to say, but his agent certainly defended the progress that Burfict has been making since that season-ending suspension.
Burfict is set to become an unrestricted free agent this spring. With concussions also being a big issue for him throughout his career, it’s potentially a low-risk, low-reward situation for any team looking towards Burfict for help.
Let’s not act like Burfict was never a star linebacker though. He has the potential to change a team for the better.
The former Bengal led the NFL with 171 combined tackles in 2013, the only season in his eight-year NFL career which he started all 16 games. Last year, in his time with the Raiders, he started four games and totaled just 18 tackles.
For New Orleans, they have around $12 million in cap space and a need for consistent linebacker play. While it’s a stretch that Burfict would be consistent, it may be worth the shot. However, Payton’s trend of keeping high-character players in the locker room may not fit with Burfict.
It’d be shocking to hear the Saints have any true interest in Burfict once his market starts to heat up.