Lofa Tatupu: Cinderella Story or Disaster Waiting to Happen?

The Saints had their first free agent visit of the 2012 off-season earlier this week when the team met with middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu here in New Orleans. News that many Saints fans seemed to get excited about. Nothing has resulted from the visit as of yet, but since it's the only interesting thing to happen in Who Dat Nation in quite some time, I figured we might as well discuss it a little further. Is this Lofa Tatupu character a player the Saints want to take a chance on?

Coming out of USC in 2005 and drafted by Seattle, Tatupu's NFL career looked incredibly promising, starting with three straight Pro Bowl seasons. But he hasn't been the same since then, putting up just mediocre stats when not recovering from a torn pectoral or sitting out all of last season amid reports of a knee injury.

So which Lofa Tatupu will be returning to football in 2012: the Pro Bowl player from his early career or the mediocre injury risk from recent years? Obviously that's the million dollar question. If the former, his signing would potentially be the biggest pickup of the Saints 2012 off-season. If the latter, well, we're all used to that by now.

I suppose whether or not it's worth the risk of signing Tatupu depends on how much he's compensated. If the price is right, then it might be stupid not to take a chance. But it's not worth overpaying for such an unknown factor. As far as length of contract, I'd say a short term deal is in the cards.

What do you guys think? Is Tatupu worth the risk? How much do you pay a guy who sat out all of last season?

Season Team Tackles Interceptions Fumbles
G GS Comb Total Ast Sck SFTY PDef Int Yds Avg Lng TDs FF
2010 Seattle Seahawks 16 16 88 58 30 1.0 0 8 1 26 26.0 26T 1 1
2009 Seattle Seahawks 5 5 32 21 11 1.0 -- 2 -- -- 0.0 -- -- 0
2008 Seattle Seahawks 15 15 94 69 25 0.0 -- 4 1 16 16.0 16 0 1
2007 Seattle Seahawks 16 16 109 83 26 1.0 -- 9 4 116 29.0 49 0 3
2006 Seattle Seahawks 16 16 122 91 31 1.5 -- 6 1 19 19.0 19 0 2
2005 Seattle Seahawks 16 16 104 85 19 4.0 0 6 3 55 18.3 38T 1 0
TOTAL 549 407 142 8.5 0 35 10 232 -- 49 2 7
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