As Jonathan Vilma braces for a multigame suspension from the NFL, the New Orleans Saints are preparing to go without the Pro Bowl linebacker for at least part of the 2012 season.
Vilma has restructured his contract with the team, a league source told Larry Holder of CBSSports.com on Friday. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.
The move comes as little surprise.
The three-time Pro Bowl linebacker anticipates a league suspension from two to eight games for his role in the team's "bounty" case. Player punishments are coming "soon," according to NFL executive vice president and general counsel Jeff Pash on Friday, and Vilma's suspension is expected to lead the way.
The Saints have been stocking the shelves at linebacker, signing David Hawthorne earlier this month and Curtis Lofton in March. Lofton started 63 of 64 games mostly at middle linebacker -- Vilma's position -- for the Falcons over the past four seasons.
Saints general manager Mickey Loomis has talked about Vilma's "ability to play all three linebacker positions," but the team is preparing for a worse-case scenario when punishments drop, likely next week.