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Saints showing interest in free agent linebacker Curtis Lofton

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Atlanta Falcons

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 01: Curtis Lofton #50 of the Atlanta Falcons intercepts a pass for a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Georgia Dome on January 1, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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Multiple reports emerged Thursday afternoon that the New Orleans Saints are showing interest in free agent linebacker Curtis Lofton. The first came from NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora, and the second from Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Big contracts recently paid out to D’Qwell Jackson (five years, $42.5 million), Lawrence Timmons (six years, $50 million), and David Harris (four years, $36 million) have stalled the 2012 inside linebacker market. For instance, MLive.com’s Anwar Richardson has reported that free agent inside linebacker Stephen Tulloch is asking for more money than Jackson received from Cleveland.

In general, NFL teams balk at paying that much for linebackers who don’t rush the passer.

The Saints are one of the few teams actively making overtures to players at the position, however, and they will host former Seahawks middle linebacker David Hawthorne for a Friday visit.

They’re now giving Lofton a hard look.