The New Orleans Saints have made a subtle yet crucial move on Friday that they've been hoping to nail down for months.
Saints coach Jim Haslett has told SportsLine.com that the team has agreed to terms on a three-year deal with valuable unrestricted free agent Willie Whitehead. The Saints defensive lineman started 10 games last year at left defensive end for the Saints and tallied 41 tackles with three sacks.
Re-signing Whitehead and preventing him from leaving via free agency was an offseason priority because of his ability to play defensive end or tackle.
"He was a starter for us last year and can play multiple positions and he's a guy we wanted back from the get go," said Haslett. "If you look at his playing time compared to how many sacks he has, the percentage is very high. He's very productive when he's on the field."
Whitehead, entering his fifth season, has 125 career tackles and 17½ sacks.
"We've been working on it for a while," said the coach. "Now that we have a guy who can play inside and at end this will open up more avenues tomorrow (in the draft)."