(METAIRE, La.) — With the team hampered by salary cap restraints, the New Orleans Saints have decided to cut four core members of their defense in linebacker Jonathan Vilma, cornerback Jabari Greer, defensive end Will Smith, and safety Roman Harper.
The team was projected to be around $13-$15 million over the cap, and these moves help put the team under the cap, but only for now. They still have to figure out how to sign restricted free agent and All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham.
All four players were key members in the team’s 2009 Super Bowl team, but with the team facing a youth movement on defense, it was time for the team to move on.
“These were not easy decision to make,” Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said in a statement. “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.”
Vilma had been with the Saints since 2008. Greer joined the team in 2009. Harper had spent his entire eight-year career in New Orleans. Smith had been part of the team since his rookie year in 2004.
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Seth Fiegerman, CNN