Seahawks trade Barrett Ruud to the Saints, clearing the starting middle linebacker position for rookie Bobby Wagner.

In March, the Seahawks signed linebacker Barrett Ruud after David Hawthorne left for the New Orleans Saints.

On Monday, the Seahawks traded Ruud to the Saints after Hawthorne was lost to an injury.

The move nets Seattle what the Saints termed an undisclosed draft pick in their announcement of the deal. It also reflects the Seahawks’ confidence in rookie linebacker Bobby Wagner.

New Orleans had a need at linebacker after Hawthorne underwent knee surgery this week to repair a damaged meniscus. The Saints’ Curtis Lofton is sidelined with a high ankle sprain.

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Ruud, 29, had been signed by the Seahawks as veteran insurance at middle linebacker. He was a second-generation NFL player who had experience playing for Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley when both were in Tampa Bay. Ruud was coming off an injury-plagued season in Tennessee, and Seattle signed him to cover itself after Hawthorne — its leading tackler the past three seasons — did not agree to the contract the Seahawks offered him to re-sign.

Ruud, whose father Tom Ruud was an NFL linebacker, was signed before the Seahawks selected Wagner in the second round out of Utah State. Coach Pete Carroll has not declared Wagner the starter at middle linebacker, but Wagner was clearly being groomed for that role.

The fact Seattle felt comfortable trading Ruud ends any doubt that Wagner will begin this season as the starter.


• Seattle waived DE Dexter Davis on Monday and re-signed CB Donny Lisowski, an undrafted rookie free agent from Montana who attended O’Dea High School. Davis, a seventh-round pick in 2010, was waived with an injury after he was hurt during Saturday’s exhibition game in Denver.

Danny O’Neil: 206-464-2364 or On Twitter @dannyoneil.