The New Orleans Saints have terminated four defensive players Wednesday. The contracts of linebacker Will Smith, cormerback Jabari Greer, and safety Roman Harper. The team also announced that linebacker Jonathan Vilma will not be re-signed.
"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."
Cutting Smith clears his $10.4 million salary. Greer release will result in a $2.65 million cap charge. Harper clears more than $3.5 million in cap space.
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.