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.