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Saints to revamp defensive line by adding DTs Khalen Saunders, Nathan Shepherd

The Saints are expected to new faces to the defensive line after the departures of David Onyemata, Marcus Davenport and Shy Tuttle.

NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans Saints signed two new faces to their defensive line on Wednesday, adding defensive tackles Khalen Saunders from the Kansas City Chiefs and Nathan Shepherd from the New York Jets.

This comes in the wake of the departure of DT David Onyemata, who left the Saints after seven years with the team to join former Saints co-defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen on the Atlanta Falcons on a three-year deal.

The Saints also lost defensive end Marcus Davenport to a one-year contract with the Minnesota Vikings. DT Shy Tuttle left for the Carolina Panthers on a three-year contract.

Saunders, who signed with New Orleans for three years and $14.5 million was drafted by the Chiefs in 2019.

The 324-pound Saunders has struggled with injuries during his career but put together a strong season in 2022 recording 3.5 sacks in the regular season and recording a sack and two tackles in the Chiefs' 38-35 win over the Eagles in the Super Bowl.

Shepherd had been with the Jets for the past five seasons. The 29-year-old looks to strengthen the Saints' defense against the run.

The Saints are looking to bounce back from their 7-10 record in 2023 and avoid missing the playoffs for the third year in a row. They'll be led by a new quarterback in Derek Carr, who signed a four-year contract with New Orleans last week.

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