NFL Rumors: Falcons To Replace Sean Weatherspoon With Jonathan Vilma?

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Jonathan Vilma

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Longtime NFC South linebacker Jonathan Vilma may be returning to the division, but he could be wearing an unfamiliar uniform.

According to NFL Media insider Ian Rapoport, the Atlanta Falcons are considering longtime New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma as an option to replace Sean Weatherspoon.

Vilma would first need to gain medical clearance, then the Falcons would bring him in for a visit. The team is also considering fellow veterans Pat Angerer and Tim Dobbins, and have ruled out London Fletcher and James Harrison, per Rapoport.

Witherspoon suffered a ruptured Achilles’ tendon on Tuesday, which is expected to be a season-ending injury. He’s set to undergo surgery soon, leaving fourth-round draft pick Prince Shembo as the only in-house option to replace him.

Vilma, 32, competed against Atlanta for the past six seasons as a member of the Saints. The four-time Pro Bowler last started a game in 2012, as injuries and suspensions have cost him playing time.

Vilma was released by the Saints at the start of this offseason. His knee, which has plagued him since 2011, remains the chief concern. The Falcons reportedly like the idea of Vilma being a mentor to rookie Shembo as well.

Earlier this month, Vilma and Brian Urlacher were named as potential replacements for Sean Lee with the Dallas Cowboys.

The Falcons are also keeping a watch on Angerer, formerly of the Indianapolis Colts, and Dobbins, who played for the Houston Texans in 2013. Internally, the team is also considering Shembo, who has impressed early on, as well as Joplo Bartu and Paul Worrilow.

Sam Spiegelman is a native New Yorker covering sports in New Orleans. He likes Game of Thrones way too much. Tweet him @samspiegs.