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The New Orleans Saints announced today that they have re-signed LB Michael Mauti, signed DB Dejaun Butler, OL Kristjan Sokoli and OL Martin Wallace, placed LB Dannell Ellerbe on Injured Reserve, waived RB/RS Willie Snead and placed C Chris Watt on Reserve/Retired. The announcements were made by Saints' Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis.
Mauti, 6-2, 243, returns to New Orleans after spending the last two seasons of his NFL career with the club, having spent his first two campaigns with the Minnesota Vikings. Originally selected by the Vikings in the seventh round of the 2013 NFL Draft (213th overall) out of Penn State, he joined the Saints at the end of the 2015 preseason and in two campaigns has played in 24 games with two starts, collecting 40 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, 19 special teams stops and one punt blocked recovered for a touchdown. In 2016, Mauti was voted by his teammates as a special teams captain and played in eight games, collecting 14 stops, one sack, one forced fumble and seven special teams stops before being placed on the reserve/non-football injury list at midseason. In four NFL seasons overall, Mauti has appeared in 47 career games with two starts and has tallied 42 tackles (27 solo), one sack, one forced fumble, 36 special teams tackles and one blocked punt recovered for a touchdown. Mauti, a native of Mandeville who prepped at Mandeville High School and the son of former Saints wideout and special teams standout Rich Mauti (1977-83) played at Penn State from 2008-12, where he capped his college career by being honored with the Big Ten's Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year award as a senior, when he posted 95 tackles.
Butler, 5-11, 180, comes to New Orleans after playing for the University of Hawaii from 2015-16, where he played in 21 games with three starts and posted 38 tackles (26 solo), two passes defensed and a blocked punt recovered and returned for a touchdown. As a senior in 2016, the Woodland Hills, Calif. native played in all 14 games with three starts and finished the season with 28 tackles (18 solo) and two passes defensed. As a junior in 2015, after transferring from Santa Monica (Calif.) Junior College, he played in seven games as a reserve cornerback on defense and special teams and recorded 10 tackles (eight solo) and blocked a punt that he recovered and returned for a touchdown.
Sokoli (pronounced Christian so-KO-lee), 6-5, 300, was originally a sixth round draft pick (214th overall) of the Seattle Seahawks in 2015 out of Buffalo. The native of Albania who moved to the United States at age nine appeared in two games as a reserve lineman as a rookie with the Seahawks. In 2016, he spent the majority of the season on the practice squad of the Indianapolis Colts, before being signed to their 53-man roster for the final two weeks. Sokoli played on the defensive line in college, where he started 25-of-46 games and recorded 95 tackles and 2.5 sacks.
Wallace, 6-6, 311, was originally signed by the Cleveland Browns as an undrafted free agent out of Temple in 2013. He appeared in one contest for the Browns in 2013 and in the past three seasons has had stints on the practice squads of the Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Arizona Cardinals and New York Jets. The New York City native played in 36 games with 26 starts (24 at right tackle and two at left tackle) after transferring from Northeastern and was a second-team All-Big East Conference selection as a senior in 2012.
Ellerbe, 6-1, 215, is an eight-year NFL veteran was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Baltimore Ravens in 2009 out of Georgia. He has played in 77 career games with 42 starts for Baltimore (2009-12), Miami (2013-14) and New Orleans (2015-16) and has career totals of 391 tackles (287 solo), 10.5 sacks, three interceptions, 15 passes defensed, one forced fumble, four fumble recoveries, 18 special teams stops and one coverage forced fumble. The Rockingham, N.C. native was acquired by New Orleans from Miami in 2015 and in two seasons with the team played in 15 contests with 12 starts and posted 98 tackles (77 solo), four sacks, three passes defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
Murphy, 5-9, 195, was a seventh round draft pick (230th overall) of the Saints in 2015 out of Missouri, who in two seasons returned 34 punts for 318 yards and one touchdown, while adding 405 yards on 19 kickoff returns.
Watt, 6-3, 310, was a third round draft pick (89th overall) of the San Diego Chargers in 2014 out of Notre Dame, who appeared in 17 games with eight starts at center for San Diego from 2014-15.