Saints to host run-stuffing linebacker David Hawthorne

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ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas reports that the Saints are scheduled to host linebacker David Hawthorne for a free agent visit on Friday.

The Saints are believed to be weighing the release of middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma, due to declining production and a $5.4 million base salary. Vilma is also due a $100,000 offseason workout bonus.

A top-50 player on the PFT Hot 100, Hawthorne is a two-down thumper on the inside. He could potentially also play strong-side ‘backer in New Orleans’ 4-3 scheme, although we suspect the Saints would insert Hawthorne as their starting middle linebacker if they signed him following Friday’s meeting.

And that could cost Vilma his roster spot.