In need of an experienced backup defensive end even before Thursday night's season-opening blowout loss at Indianapolis, the New Orleans Saints have filled that void, reaching agreement with free agent Renaldo Wynn on a one-year contract.
A 10-year veteran, Wynn was released by the Washington Redskins last week in the team's cutdown to the mandatory 53-player limit.
Wynn, 33, worked out for New Orleans coaches and personnel officials last week, and he was impressive enough that the club determined then that he would be signed. The Saints delayed until after the first game, however, to ensure that Wynn's full base salary for 2007 would not be guaranteed.
If a "vested" veteran, a player with four or more seasons of experience, is on an opening-day roster, his full salary is guaranteed for the year. Wynn will sign a one-year contract, likely on Monday, but the financial details of the deal are not yet available.
A first-round choice by Jacksonville in 1997, Wynn played five seasons with the Jaguars (1997-2001) before signing with the Redskins as a free agent in 2002. The former Notre Dame standout was a starter for much of his career until sliding into a backup role with the Redskins the past two years.
In 152 games, Wynn has 308 tackles, 21½ sacks, six forced fumbles, five recoveries, and three pass deflections.
Primarily an end, Wynn has at times moved inside to tackle, where he could employ his quickness against slower guards. New Orleans may use him at tackle in some situations, but his biggest role will be to spell standout starters Will Smith and Charles Grant. A highly respected player, Wynn will also give the Saints another strong leader in the locker room.
The Saints released second-year veteran Rob Ninkovich late last week and went into the game at Indianapolis with just three ends. The lone backup, Josh Cooper, is a second-year player and former practice squad member whose professional resume included just five regular-season appearances.
Because he was in camp with the Redskins, and played in the preseason, Wynn should be in good shape and ready to immediately assume the No. 3 end spot.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.