Saints, LB Manti Te'o near agreement on contract

Former Chargers inside linebacker Manti Te'o is close to a deal with the New Orleans Saints, a source told ESPN's Dan Graziano.

A contract could be signed by Tuesday, the source said.

The Saints have already signed one inside linebacker this year, giving A.J. Klein a three-year, $15 million deal. But they are apparently seeking more depth and upgrades throughout their defense, which coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis labeled as a top priority this offseason.

The Saints' embattled defense showed signs of improvement last year in Dennis Allen's first full year as defensive coordinator. But they still finished 27th in yards allowed and 31st in points allowed. Last year's starting middle linebacker, Craig Robertson, played well, but he could be moved outside.

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.

ESPN's Mike Triplett and Eric D. Williams contributed to this report.