The New Orleans Saints have released cornerback Jabari Greer, safety Roman Harper and ouside linebacker Will Smith and announce they won't retain linebacker Jonathan Vilma.
Smith was due a $10.5 million base salary. Greer was due $4 million. And Harper was scheduled to make $2.35 million. The Saints save $16.9 million against the salary cap with these transactions, which won't become official until Thursday.
“I would like to thank Jabari, Roman, Will and Jonathan for their contributions on and off the field for the New Orleans Saints over the past several years,” Saints owner Tom Benson said in a statement. “All four of them played important roles in the success of our club and were great players and teammates. In addition, all of them made a significant impact in our community, especially with our youth and helping serve the less fortunate. On behalf of our organization and our fans, we appreciate everything that they have done for us and wish them continued success.”
Added general manager Mickey Loomis: “These were not easy decisions to make. Since we acquired them, Jabari, Roman, Will and Jonathan have all been excellent players on the field for us. Each of them were integral parts in turning this program around and winning a Super Bowl. They were a great example to our players as team leaders in the locker room as well. Will and Roman were two of the better draft picks we have made. Jonathan Vilma has been one of our best trades ever and Jabari Greer has been one of our best free agent signings. These are the kinds of players and people you hope to acquire. However, a new NFL year is about to begin and, with the start of free agency in March, these difficult moves allow us to position our team under the salary cap to move forward for 2014.”
Saints coach Sean Payton issued a statement, too.
“I have coached and been around a lot of great players and I put these four guys right there at the top,” Payton said. “Jabari, Roman, Will and Jonathan all represent and epitomize what we look for in our players. These are disciplined, smart, tough and team-oriented individuals. They all played an important role in helping this team and this city win its first Super Bowl and they have all enjoyed multiple playoff appearances and wins.”
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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun