32-Year-Old Linebacker – Free Agent
2013 Fantasy Football Outlook
Vilma will likely start at one of the inside linebacker positions with the Saints' switch to a 3-4 defense. While the alignment switch gives Vilma the opportunity to start after backing up Curtis Loft...
2013 ADP: –
Jonathan Vilma Contract Information:
Re-signed with the Saints in February of 2009 -- five years, $34 million.
Vilma will not be re-signed by the Saints, NFL.com reports.
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|Tackles||Defensive Stats||Fumbles||Kick Ret||Punt Ret|
Age is determined on September 1st of each season.
|Snap Count||Tackles||Defensive Stats||Fumbles||Kick Ret||Punt Ret|
A blank stat line is used above whenever a player was not on the field for any plays in the game that week.
Jonathan Vilma: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
In the wake of the Saints' bounty scandal, it was Vilma who was hit the hardest, as Commissioner Goodell handed Vilma a full season suspension. While Vilma is appealing the decision, his suspension is almost certainly to be upheld. On top of that, the Saints brought in free agent middle linebacker Curtis Lofton, fresh off a season where he posted well over 100 tackles. At this point, it is safe to expect 2012 to be a complete wash for Vilma.
Vilma was solid in his third season as New Orleans' starting middle linebacker, with a more than respectable stat line of 105 tackles (71 solo), four sacks, one interception and three forced fumbles. But itís slightly concerning how his solo tackles took a steep drop for the third straight year. Vilma closed out the 2008 season with 98 solo stops, but that fell to 87 in 2009 before landing at 71 last year. Still, itís tough to see that number falling further, and Vilma generally does a good job of supplementing his tackle numbers with sack and turnover production.
The Saints defense improved significantly on its way to the Super Bowl, and Vilmaís presence in the middle was a big factor. Vilmaís 110 tackles were 22 less than in 2008, but a late-season knee injury cost him Week 17 and limited his effectiveness in Week 16 (only six tackles). He added two sacks and three interceptions to his healthy tackle total. As the heart of Gregg Williamsí aggressive defense, Vilma should continue to be a top option in IDP leagues.
Vilma dropped from last yearís IDP rankings after missing most of the 2007 season with a knee injury, but he rewarded owners who showed faith with his best season since 2005, racking up 132 tackles, a sack and an interception. He re-signed with New Orleans in the offseason and will be asked to do even more this year. The Saints hope new D-coordinator Gregg Williams can improve the performance of a unit thatís charitably described as the teamís biggest weakness. For an aggressive play-caller like Williams, that could mean Vilma will be involved in more blitzes.
Vilma has the potential to be a dominant linebacker, as evidenced by a monster 2005 campaign in which he posted a league-leading 173 tackles. However, the last two seasons have been disappointments for Vilma. The Jets changed their defensive scheme in 2006, causing Vilma's numbers to drop dramatically, though he still recorded a solid 117 tackles. In 2007, Vilma managed just 43 tackles in seven games before being lost to the season to a knee injury. The Saints acquired Vilma during the 2008 offseason, and he is projected to be fully healthy by the start of the regular season. Vilma's health concerns are likely to cause him to be undervalued in fantasy drafts this season, so as long as he doesn't suffer any setbacks during training camp, he could be a major IDP sleeper.
What happened to Vilma? In 2005, he was half of a fantasy point away from tying London Fletcher-Baker for the top spot among all IDPs. Last year in a new 3-4 alignment he dropped to just outside the year-end linebacker Top 25. Thatís still treating fantasy owners fairly well, but absolutely not paying off for where he was drafted. The problem? Vilma weighs 230 and excels at free ranging and using his speed. In a 3-4 alignment, there's less protection in front of him to keep blockers off him. The good news is that Vilma turned in a decent enough year, and the slightly better news is that the Jets don't use the 3-4 exclusively. He's a bit of a risk this year, but his talent and performance even in a disadvantageous situation are hard to ignore. If your league goes this deep, Vilma can deliver good value.
He was the league's Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2004 and a Pro Bowler last year, so the sky's the limit for this high-motor stud in the middle. Vilma led the league in tackles last year with 169, and on five different occasions he piled up 10 solo stops or more. Vilma isn't going to give you a lot of sacks or interceptions, but as a run stopper he's as good as there is in the game. Keep your eye on No. 51.
Vilmaís gift for playmaking was enough to earn him 13th place among linebackers in 2004, but remember he came off the bench behind Sam Cowart for the first two games. If you project his other 14 games to a full season, he would have logged 85 solo tackles as a rookie, so an improvement to the 100-tackle neighborhood is not just reasonable, itís expected. So long as the playmaking holds up, weíve got a new stud on our hands.
Vilma, a Ray Lewis in the making, will compete with veteran Sam Cowart for the team's starting middle linebacker job this season.