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Saints move on from Smith, Harper, Greer, Vilma

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In many ways, an era has ended for the Saints.

Four key defensive players won’t be back with the team in 2014.  The Saints have terminated the contracts of linebacker Will Smith, cormerback Jabari Greer, and safety Roman Harper.  The team also announced that linebacker Jonathan Vilma (pictured) will not be re-signed.

Last night, we reported that the release of Smith and Harper could come as soon as Wednesday.

“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,” owner Tom Benson said in a team-issued release. “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.”

“These were not easy decisions to make,” G.M. Mickey Loomis said. “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.”

“I have coached and been around a lot of great players and I put these four guys right there at the top,” coach Sean 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.”

Cutting Smith clears his $10.4 million salary off the books. Greer would have earned a base salary of $4 million in 2014; his release will result in a $2.65 million cap charge. Harper was due to earn $2.35 million. He counts for more than $3.5 million in dead money.

All three will become free agents as soon as their terminations are reported to the league. Vilma, whose contract is expiring, won’t be eligible to sign with a new team until March 11.

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35 Responses to “Saints move on from Smith, Harper, Greer, Vilma”
  1. romestar82 says: Feb 12, 2014 5:50 PM

    Will Smith career has hit another snag ,1st his movie bombs now this .

  2. thestrategyexpert says: Feb 12, 2014 5:55 PM

    Wow 4 relevant players that raked in a lot of money over the past 4 seasons since the last title and no compensation back to the team through this chosen exit strategy for them. That’s too bad, for the Saints, but not for everybody else!

  3. dukeearl says: Feb 12, 2014 6:01 PM

    The salary cap forces teams to do some wheeling and dealing on draft day and to look harder for low cost free agents.

  4. seatownballers says: Feb 12, 2014 6:06 PM

    Who is left?

  5. dvdman123 says: Feb 12, 2014 6:08 PM

    It looks like the “New” Orleans Saints are cleaning house and getting reloaded for a serious 2014 Super Bowl run.

  6. bullethead527 says: Feb 12, 2014 6:14 PM

    cut all these players to pay Jimmy Graham. But with all those cuts they are still only 4 million under the cap. Looks like Saints have to cut some more guys to pay Graham and sign their rookies..

  7. bcajun says: Feb 12, 2014 6:19 PM

    So where are we at cap wise??

  8. ghjjf says: Feb 12, 2014 6:22 PM

    Not a surprise. Now that they are not allowed to use a bounty system, the effort from these players has dramatically decreased.

  9. nehxas says: Feb 12, 2014 6:35 PM

    Cost of an elite tightend.

    I also thinks this shows a real trust in Rob Ryan. The job he does with this defense moving forward could make or break his dream of being a head coach a reality.

  10. The League's Crusade Against The Steelers Continues says: Feb 12, 2014 6:42 PM

    A few years too late.

  11. datdude84 says: Feb 12, 2014 6:45 PM

    I hate to see jabari go cause he was still pretty good. But the others were done. Especially fat smith. Thanks for all u did for us guys but we had a top 5 defense without you guys. This only helped the saints minus the loss of jabari. Cap room deep breath.

  12. kidsamoa260 says: Feb 12, 2014 6:53 PM

    Marshawn Lynch moved on from these guys too in a 2010 playoff game

  13. johnnybandwagon says: Feb 12, 2014 7:10 PM

    I wonder how many of these guys sign with Oakland?

  14. pmars64 says: Feb 12, 2014 7:13 PM

    Amazing as it sounds from a fan who’s been following this franchise for more than 30 years, but the Saints are one of the NFL’s model franchises and these players were instrumental in bringing about this transition from perpetual NFL laughingstock. Their turnaround this past season is a testament to the strength of this franchise and the people who run it. They’ve got their work cut out for them to catch up to the Seahawks and the Niners, but they have the people to make the necessary moves. Some said the Saints 2009 SB title was a fluke, but their playoff appearances in 3 of the following 4 seasons definitely shows that it was anything but. And these guys were vital to that success.

    As for the 2009 NFC title game, hat’s off to Vilma who correctly read the Vikings formation and audibled the defense to change its coverages which allowed Porter to be in position to intercept Favre at the end of regulation. And Greer was close to a shutdown corner in his prime. They don’t win the SB without these guys.

  15. jerryjonessaidwhat says: Feb 12, 2014 7:13 PM

    pay attention Jerrah, this is what teams that want to remain relevant do, not resigning them to awful extensions crippling your cap

  16. tindeaux says: Feb 12, 2014 7:13 PM

    those guys only work well in teams that run bounty program. no bounty, no performance. hence, cut!

  17. mdd913 says: Feb 12, 2014 7:19 PM

    Jabari is the only real loss here, and he was slowing down, coming off major injury and would have had two if not three young, hungry players breathing down his neck for a starting job next camp. These are the no-brainer moves.

  18. nfl4days says: Feb 12, 2014 7:22 PM

    Time to get younger and hope for some gems in the draft.

  19. flannlv says: Feb 12, 2014 7:22 PM

    Smith and Vilma (only 1/2 games) didn’t play this year, Greer was hurt in week 8 and Harper missed 7 games. We have seen the defense perform without these guys. I am surprised the Saints didn’t let Moore and Thomas go as also. Saints will be going into the FA pool for another CB and WR.

  20. pfic15 says: Feb 12, 2014 7:40 PM

    Let Graham go, too…too much $$$ tied up in Brees.

  21. seattlelibtard says: Feb 12, 2014 7:47 PM

    So would you say the Saints let those players Geaux?

  22. skinsfan91 says: Feb 12, 2014 7:48 PM

    Redskins need an ILB and a safety or CB.

  23. cajunhockey says: Feb 12, 2014 7:51 PM

    All 4 were valuable in getting us a ring, and all 4 got paid. Not a shabby career, at all.

    I wonder if any of the 4 would be back with a much-discounted contract, a la Robert Meachem?

  24. wiseace9 says: Feb 12, 2014 8:13 PM

    My numbers have us $4.188 million under the salary cap…

  25. axespray says: Feb 12, 2014 8:25 PM

    Considering Kenny V, Cam Jordan and Akeem Hicks were the only ones ballin’ it’s probably a good thing to surround ‘em with young lions with speed.

  26. str8infamous says: Feb 12, 2014 8:32 PM

    So…they just cut all those guys to basically free up $3-4Mil tops & are still over the projected cap another $10Mil. They taking three steps backwards to move half a step forward. Harper & Greer cost them $6Mil in cap penalties. CRAZY

  27. saints12013 says: Feb 12, 2014 8:58 PM

    I absolutely love all these players, but anyone saying we are dumb for cutting them are out of their minds. Their all well into their 30ies and are all too high priced. Not to mention all of them have knee problems. We won many games without them and will continue to win games in the future with their replacements.

  28. thegreatsantini56 says: Feb 12, 2014 9:46 PM

    Drew is one of the best QBs today. But when one player takes up so much cap space, I just wonder if he is worth it.

  29. campcouch says: Feb 12, 2014 9:54 PM

    Harper and Smith will get deals elsewhere. Vilma,not so much.

  30. yetimonster says: Feb 12, 2014 10:10 PM

    Where will Vilma be playing next season?

  31. tigersdawgs says: Feb 12, 2014 10:52 PM

    I see Tampa trying to get a few of these.

  32. skinsfan91 says: Feb 13, 2014 1:13 AM

    I knew they were old, but if they’re all 30 plus, then no thanks.

  33. cursedvikings1998 says: Feb 13, 2014 1:50 AM

    I wouldn’t be shocked to see Jabari Greer back for less money.

    The other moves were absolutely necessary.

  34. JackedUpSports says: Feb 13, 2014 6:32 AM

    jimmy graham > them

  35. donewithfootball says: Feb 13, 2014 7:29 AM

    They Will save More . No more bounty to payout.

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