Hoping to bolster their shaky linebacker corps, the New Orleans Saints on Wednesday acquired fourth-year veteran Scott Shanle from the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for a fourth-round choice in the 2007 draft. Len Pasquarelli has details:
Hoping to bolster their shaky linebacker corps, the New Orleans Saints on Wednesday acquired fourth-year veteran Scott Shanle from the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for a fourth-round choice in the 2007 draft.
Shanle, 26, appeared in 15 games for the Cowboys in 2005, starting seven contests at inside linebacker in the Dallas 3-4 alignment. He registered 50 tackles, 1Â½ sacks and two passes defensed. But he was rendered extraneous when the Cowboys added veteran Akin Ayodele in free agency this spring and chose Bobby Carpenter in the first round of the draft.
Those moves, plus the switch of longtime defensive end Greg Ellis to linebacker and the return of second-year veteran Kevin Burnett from 2005 knee surgery, provided the Cowboys one of the deepest units in the league. And while Shanle’s name was not specifically cited, it has been rumored for the past week that the Cowboys might be willing to deal from their surplus at the linebacker position.
The Saints need help at linebacker, and it will not be surprising if Shanle challenges for a starting job by the start of the regular season. Even with a dramatically overhauled linebacker corps, the Saints have struggled to find defenders who can play “downhill” to the ball. It will be interesting to see where the New Orleans coaches use Shanle, who can probably play in the middle or on the strongside in the team’s 4-3 front.
Saints defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs was the Dallas linebackers coach the past three seasons and knows Shanle well.
A good move for both teams. Barring a string of injuries, the Cowboys don’t need Shanle and they’re getting a 4th rounder for a guy who they picked up for free. And the Saints know what they’re getting, with both the head coach and the defensive coordinator having been with the Cowboys last season.
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