METAIRIE, La. -- The New Orleans Saints are cornering the market on middle linebackers this offseason.
They have agreed to a two-year deal with former Los Angeles Chargers defensive signal-caller and co-captain Manti Te'o, a source confirmed. ESPN's Dan Graziano first reported the deal was imminent on Monday. Terms have not been disclosed.
In New Orleans, Te'o will be reunited with new Saints linebackers coach Mike Nolan, who coached him in San Diego in 2015.
It will be interesting to see how the Saints plan to use the 26-year-old, as they also signed former Carolina Panthers linebacker A.J. Klein to a three-year, $15 million deal on the first day of free agency, and they still have last year's starting middle linebacker Craig Robertson, who led the team with 115 tackles.
But the idea of stockpiling depth and talent makes sense for a New Orleans defense that has struggled mightily over the past three years. Although the Saints showed improvement in Dennis Allen's first full year as defensive coordinator in 2016, they still ranked 27th in yards allowed and 31st in points allowed.
If Te'o or Klein takes over as the starting middle linebacker and signal-caller, that will make five starters in that role for New Orleans in four years.
The Chargers traded up in the 2013 draft to select Te'o in the second round out of Notre Dame. He has made 34 starts in 38 games, recording 221 tackles, 2 interceptions and 1½ sacks.
In 2016, Te'o suffered a torn Achilles tendon in Week 3 against the Colts and was done for the year.
Te'o, who turned 26 in January, has missed a combined 26 games in his four previous NFL seasons.