Saints sign DE Dawson, cut Richardson

The New Orleans Saints swapped one veteran backup for another Tuesday, signing defensive end Keyunta Dawson and releasing outside linebacker/end Jay Richardson.

Dawson, 28, is a six-year veteran who was released by the Tennessee Titans over the weekend to make room for a backup quarterback. At 6-foot-3 and 258 pounds, he likely will play a role similar to the one played by Richardson, who was used sparingly on defense and special teams this season. The Titans apparently liked Dawson as a dependable backup, but he appeared in only two games this season and made no tackles. He became expendable when the Titans needed the roster spot.

Dawson started 20 games early in his career with the Indianapolis Colts between 2007 and 2009. Since then, he’s been a backup with the Colts, Detroit Lions and Titans. He has 117 career tackles, one sack and one forced fumble.

Dawson fits best as an end in a four-man front. It's possible he could line up as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, as well, but the Saints don't use their base 3-4 package all that much. They have spent more than 75 percent of their snaps in nickel or dime defense this year, usually with four men on the line of scrimmage. Dawson could potentially back up Cameron Jordan or Junior Galette in those alignments.