Will Smith, Roman Harper could be dumped very soon by the Saints

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As the Saints try to deal with an aging defense and an untenable cap situation, several players who have been key components of the franchise’s recent success could soon be out the door.

Per a league source, linebacker Will Smith and safety Roman Harper could both be cut, as soon as Wednesday.

Smith has a cap number of $13.9 million, thanks in large part to a $10.4 million base salary.  He tore an ACL in August and missed all of the 2013 season.

If healthy (and there’s no reason to think he won’t be), the 2004 first-round pick could still be an effective 4-3 defensive end — possibly joining the rotation for a team like the Seahawks, if Michael Bennett moves on.

Harper, a second-round pick in 2006, is due to earn a base salary of $2.35 million.  He carries nearly $3.6 million in cap money for bonuses previously paid.

It’s also highly likely, we’re told, that linebacker Jonathan Vilma won’t return.  The impending free agent appeared in only one game last year due to a lingering knee problem.  He was acquired via trade from the Jets in 2008 after the team that drafted him in the first round switched from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense.

The Saints could end up making other cuts in order to re-sign tight end Jimmy Graham and otherwise manage a salary structure that devotes $18.4 million in cap space to Drew Brees this year — and $26.4 million next year.

25 responses to “Will Smith, Roman Harper could be dumped very soon by the Saints

  1. Roman Harper is one of the worst safeties in the league right now. I appreciate all he’s done and at one point he was very good at what he does, but honestly he should have been gone two years ago. In the saints-niners divisional round, vernon davis caught the game winning touchdown right in front of roman. If he wasn’t slow as dirt he could have picked that ball maybe we have another Lombardi. Watch every big play against us these last two years and I can almost guarantee that all you’ll see is a number 41 jersey getting left behind in the dust. This upcoming draft is gonna be huge for us and hopefully the graham deal doesnt bleed us dry so we can get some FAs

  2. How the hell is the Fresh Prince still even on the Saints? He’s been an obvious cut candidate due to injuries, declining effectiveness, and age for the last several years.

  3. Smith can’t stay healthy, nor can he play to the level of his salary like he could before. Harper still decent on a reasonable contract though and still has veteran experience to offer. There is no way Vilma returns with injury problems on a non reasonable contract.

  4. Smith can’t stay healthy??? This was the first injury of his career. The Saints should try and renegotiate with him because they will lose 2.35 Million in “Dead Money” if they cut him. Why not keep him for 3Mil, at least he could provide some depth.

  5. Both are on the downside of their careers. They have been good contributors in New Orleans for a long time. They’ll be missed but youth is always served in the NFL. Always.

  6. ^Smith can’t stay healthy? Thats crazy this is the FIRST major injury of his career! Most years he doesn’t miss a game. Hate on the man for being 32, or being too built to play quick, but dont fabricate the truth!

  7. earpaniac says: Feb 12, 2014 9:59 AM

    And with Brees’ contract, this is going to keep happening

    This needs to happen with or without Brees’ contract.

  8. Non-story for anyone who actually watched Saints games this year. Smith is respected by all Saints fans because he once was dominant and has spent a long career with the Saints. But if anyone is being honest, he hasn’t been a difference maker in 3 seasons. Last year they wanted to move him to OLB. Which EVERY Saint fan with half a brain, was scared about. Because the idea of Will Smith, who is not very mobile, keeping up with TEs and RBs on passing plays…sounded like a disaster.

    Roman Harper is a thumper who misses tackles to often. His coverage ability has always been an issue and continues to be. Losing these two players, although long time Saints and who own loyalty from the fanbase, do not change the outcome of games next season.

    So while Saints fans will be sad to see them go. More than likely, this is addition by subtraction.

  9. If Will Smith can come back and contribute, it may be wisdom to keep him. He is not accident prone, and will provide good depth.

    Harper and some others need to go. I know he did good for us in the past but his time with the Saints has come. Maybe he can get on with another team. Other contracts need to be downgraded for the players are not any longer worth what they are getting on the open market. Maybe allow them to shop around and see what they can get and then the Saints can match that.

    The Saints can build through careful drafting, as did Seattle. Other teams will be following their pattern.

  10. Smith renegotiated this year for 3 Million which was a 66% pay decrease. If they offer Smith 3Million again which will be the number it would cost to cut him(Dead Money) and sign someone at league minimum. I think it would be a better financial move rather than cutting him outright.

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