Even though the Saints are furiously trying to lure Jonathan Vilma back to New Orleans, Tampa Bay is trying to set up a free agent visit with the 6-foot-1, 230-pound linebacker. Vilma was acquired last year by the Saints in a trade with the Jets.
Vilma had a great year for the Saints, recording 132 tackles, according to NFL.com, along with two forced fumbles, one sack and one interception. Vilma has 465 tackles, 25 passes defensed, seven forced fumbles, seven interceptions and 3.5 sacks in his career. The Bucs are courting him as an outside linebacker who would play next to middle linebacker Barrett Ruud.
Vilma has only missed nine games in his five-year NFL career, those coming during the 2007 season when he suffered a knee injury. Of the 71 games he’s played in, Vilma has started 69 of those contests.
According to ESPN.com, Tampa Bay finished second in the running for Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth to Washington, which paid Haynesworth $100 million over seven years, including $41 million in guaranteed money. The Bucs had made landing Haynesworth a top priority, according to a source.
The Bucs have also expressed "sincere" interest in Pittsburgh free agent wide receiver Nate Washington, according to his agent. However, Washington is not scheduled to visit with the Bucs yet. He is scheduled to visit the Detroit Lions.
Stay tuned to PewterReport.com for more Bucs free agency news.