The New Orleans Saints have agreed to terms with free agent defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson, Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis announced Tuesday. Loomis also stated that restricted free agents linebacker Marvin Mitchell, wide receiver Courtney Robyand safety Usama Young have all signed their tender offers.
Wilkerson** is a seven-year NFL veteran who has played the past two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after spending the first five years of his career with the Kansas City Chiefs. The 6-2, 270-pound lineman out of the University of Oklahoma has played in 103 career games with 21 starts, including starting all 15 of the contests he played in for the Bucs in 2009.
The versatile lineman can play both end and tackle and has tallied 191 tackles in his career with 12 sacks, 10 pass defenses, four forced fumbles and a fumble recovery, while also adding 48 tackles on special teams. Wilkerson enjoyed a breakout season in 2009, posting career highs with 66 tackles (42 solo), six sacks and three forced fumbles before his season ended with a knee injury suffered in the BucsÕ December win over the Saints.
Mitchell**, a 6-3, 249-pound linebacker was a seventh-round draft pick of the Saints in 2007 and has played in 39 games over his first three seasons, making his largest contributions on special teams where he has totaled 42 tackles. The University of Tennessee product was incorporated into a larger role on defense in 2009, making his first two career starts and totaling 24 tackles to go along with the 16 special teams stops he made on the season. Mitchell played in all three of the teamÕs postseason contests as well Ð getting a start in Super Bowl XLIV Ð and made four tackles on defense and another tackle on special teams.
Roby** first signed with the Saints as a free agent during the 2008 season and has taken over the role of the teamÕs primary kickoff returner and also emerged as a solid cover-man on special teams. A former third-round pick of the Tennessee Titans in 2005, the four-year veteran has played in 46 career games, averaging 25.3 yards on 88 kickoff returns with a touchdown and catching 24 passes for 323 yards and a score. The 6-0, 189-pounder had a career-best 27.5-yard average on 42 kick returns in 2009, including a 97-yard touchdown, and also notched 20 tackles on special teams. Roby returned 11 kicks in the postseason for an average of 25.6 yards and made four more stops in kick coverage the three games.
Young** was drafted by the Saints in the third round of the 2007 draft as a cornerback out of Kent State and has played in 41 games with three starts in his first three seasons, totaling 46 tackles, three interceptions and seven pass defenses along with 45 tackles and two fumble recoveries on special teams. The 6-foot, 200-pound defensive back transitioned from cornerback to safety in 2009 and played in 12 games with one start at his new position, making nine tackles and an interception. He also made six tackles and recovered a fumble on special teams. Young played in all three of the SaintsÕ postseason games following the Õ09 season, making two tackles on defense and four more stops in kick coverage.