Jets trade Vilma to Saints

February 29, 2008 12:33:40 PM PST
The New York Jets have traded linebacker Jonathan Vilma to the New Orleans Saints on Friday for an undisclosed draft pick.Vilma, who missed the last nine weeks of last season with an injured right knee, saw his production decline the last two seasons after coach Eric Mangini took over and installed a 3-4 defensive scheme. With rookie David Harris' emergence as a playmaker at inside linebacker, Vilma became expendable.

Vilma, 27, had 118 tackles as a rookie after being the No. 12 overall pick out of Miami in 2004 and was named defensive rookie of the year. He led the NFL the following season with 187 tackles, earning a Pro Bowl selection while establishing himself as one of the league's top young middle linebackers.

That changed in 2006, when the Jets switched defenses and Vilma had just 116 tackles. He played in seven games last season before injuring his knee at Cincinnati and had 39 tackles.