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Saints restructure deals to keep Vilma, Smith

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Through restructured contracts, the New Orleans Saints found a way to retain defensvie end Will Smith and inside linebacker Jonathan Vilma. Now the question is whether they can find the right fit for the veterans in their new 3-4 scheme.

The Saints reduced the salary cap figures of both players, which combined to total $23.1 million.

Exact terms of the deals weren't immediately available.

Head coach Sean Payton said in February that he likes Vilma as an inside linebacker in the 3-4 scheme. He'd play alongside Curtis Lofton, an undersized tackle machine acquired via free agency in March 2012.

Smith's weight and mobility are the major issues that could prevent him from transitioning easily to outside linebacker. He is more like to play defensive end, which is regarded as a power position in a three-man or "30" front. The role calls for defensive linemen to tie up blocks more than they pressure the quarterback

Smith has 18 total sacks in his past three seasons.

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