The Saints cut defensive end Alex Brown on Tuesday, even though Brown started all 16 games for the team in 2010.
Discussing the move with the media, coach Sean Payton suggested that Brown could return.
“It was a hard decision,” Payton said, via quotes distributed by the team. “We spent a lot of time on it. A lot goes into it, and I said this to him today, [that] it wasn’t that we drafted a young player at that position. I think you try to factor in all the practice snaps and all the game film. It was something that after going through it all and looking at the timing of it, there’s still that opportunity within this next week that he’ll have a chance to sign with someone else and also that door is not totally shut if that opportunity presents itself here. Nonetheless, it was a hard decision we had to make. He was the one veteran player that of course has been with us.”
Brown was cut by the Bears last year after eight seasons with the team. He has appeared in all but one regular-season game during his career.
Cutting Brown now gives him a fair chance to land elsewhere. Given Payton’s willingness to consider bringing him back, it’s also safe to infer that Brown was offered a reduced contract in lieu of being cut, and that he declined.