The San Francisco 49ers have agreed to a deal that will send veteran outside linebacker Parys Haralson to the New Orleans Saints. The details of the trade have not be revealed yet. This trade makes sense for the Saints as they have switched from a 4-3 base to a 3-4. The Saints just lost outside linebacker Will Smith for the season so they needed another starter.
Haralson would have been a valuable reserve with the 49ers. Last year they suffered from a lack of depth at the position, so it is somewhat surprising that this deal was made. However, the team went out and signed Dan Skuta and drafted Corey Lemonier. Both of these players have done well in the preseason. Cam Johnson is another option who has shined at outside linebacker.
It was an emotional farewell for Haralson and the 49ers. He wanted to remain with the 49ers as shown by his willingness to take a paycut to have a more cap friendly number. Frank Gore actually told him to “Take it easy on me.” He said his good byes to all of the players in the locker room. It had to be difficult as he has been with the team since 2006.
Unfortunately, Haralson missed all of last year after being injured in the first preseason game. Aldon Smith was projected to be the starter last year in place of Haralson. He was still heavily involved despite missing the whole season. Unlike most players on injured reserve, Haralson traveled to away games with the team. He always had insight to pass onto defenders when they came off of the field. Haralson was a model teammate.
Justin Smith said without any hesitation or doubt that Haralson is a starting outside linebacker on most teams. He said that he had a valuable veteran presence in the locker room. Aldon Smith also credited Haralson with teaching him a lot about adjusting to outside linebacker.
This deal comes just in the nick of time for the Saints. They were dealt a major blow when Will Smith went down with a knee injury against the Houston Texans. They also lost a key player when Victor Butler, big free agent signing at outside linebacker went down with an injury earlier in the preseason. Losing the two players projected to be starters made a trade like this absolutely necessary. Now they are able to acquire a player that is well versed in the 3-4 and will be a starter.
The 49ers will face the Saints in New Orleans on November 17th (week 11). That will give Haralson the chance to go against his now former team.