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Saints lock up LB Vilma for five years

New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - The New Orleans Saints signed veteran middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma to a five-year contract on Friday.

The Saints acquired the 2004 Defensive Rookie of the Year last season in a trade with the Jets, where Vilma spent the first four years of his career.

Last season, the 26-year-old recorded 132 total tackles, two forced fumbles, an interception and a sack in his first year in New Orleans.

"Jonathan is a true impact player on defense and one of our leaders," said Saints head coach Sean Payton. "He is consistent, he never comes off the field, and we rely on him to make plays. He proved to be everything we expected when we made the trade for him last year, and having him agree to terms today is a key factor heading into this season."

For his career, Vilma has totaled 564 tackles, seven interceptions and 3 1/2 sacks, while starting all but two of the 71 games in which he has played.

02/27 19:36:19 ET