The New Orleans Saints added some linebacker depth earlier this week by signing Kiko Alonso, who previously played with the franchise in 2019 (the last time he played a game in the NFL).

On Saturday, the Saints lost that depth.

Alonso, who was attempting a comeback after missing the last two seasons, abruptly retired on Saturday after just one practice with New Orleans.

As a result, the Saints are once again in need of linebacker depth.

And there’s a perfect free agent option available.

New Orleans should sign former Tennessee Vols linebacker Alexander Johnson to a one-year prove-it deal as soon as possible.

New Orleans Saints
Jul 28, 2021; Englewood, CO, United States; Denver Broncos inside linebacker Alexander Johnson (45) during training camp at UCHealth Training Complex. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Johnson is a free agent after spending the last four seasons with the Denver Broncos. He had a huge 2020 season for Denver, totaling 124 tackles and one sack. Johnson battled injuries last season and was limited to six games (32 tackles and two sacks).

The 30-year-old former first-team All-SEC linebacker had a delayed start to his NFL career as he was suspended during his final season at Tennessee in the midst of a rape accusation. Johnson was acquitted of all charges in July of 2018. He signed with the Broncos less than a month later.

It’s a bit surprising that Johnson is still a free agent after his tremendous 2020 season. I’m guessing there might be some concern about the torn pectoral he suffered last year that ended his season, but that should keep New Orleans from pursuing him.

Signing Johnson would give the Saints the depth at linebacker they need, while possibly giving them another Pro-Bowl caliber defender (if healthy).

New Orleans seems to love former Volunteers players (the Saints have five former Tennessee players on the roster), so why not add another one?

Featured image via Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports