The New Orleans Saints have signed veteran defensive tackle Kevin Williams, the team announced Friday.
Williams has 63 career sacks in 12 seasons, including three last year. The 6-foot-5, 311-pounder spent most of his career as a three-technique tackle in Minnesota's 4-3 defense, but he ended up starting the final 10 games at nose tackle for Seattle last season, including the playoffs, after starter Brandon Mebane went down with a torn hamstring. Williams accepted the challenge and was a force inside for the Seahawks down the stretch.
The Saints don't have much experienced depth along their defensive line, with starters Cameron Jordan, Akiem Hicks and Brodrick Bunkley being flanked by young backups John Jenkins, Glenn Foster, Lawrence Virgil and five rookies.
Bunkley, Foster and Virgil have been sidelined for all or part of offseason workouts with unspecified injuries. And Hicks and Barnes were sidelined for undisclosed reasons Wednesday. The injury that sidelined Hicks was "nothing major at all," according to a league source.
The Saints switch between three-man and four-man fronts in defensive coordinator Rob Ryan's hybrid scheme, so Williams could potentially play both tackle spots or even 3-4 end as a rotational option.
Williams is also likely remembered in New Orleans for being one of the defendants in the infamous StarCaps case against the NFL, which also included Saints players Deuce McAllister, Will Smith and Charles Grant and fellow Vikings defensive tackle Pat Williams.
New Orleans waived tight end Harold Spears, an undrafted rookie out of New Hampshire.
ESPN NFL Nation Seahawks reporter Terry Blount contributed to this report.