— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) February 12, 2014
The move was not posted on the league’s official transactions release on Wednesday, but it sounds as though it will be official in the coming days.
Smith, 32, sat out the 2013 season after having been placed on the injured reserve with a torn ACL that he suffered during the team’s third preseason game. By releasing Smith, the Saints would free up $11.5 million in cap space with just this one move.
Ian Rapoport reports that the Saints are releasing DE Will Smith and official word could come Wednesday.
- Rapoport adds that other “big cuts” are coming as well.
- Jason La Canfora confirms that the Saints are releasing DE Will Smith and adds that the move should be announced today.
This coincides with a report from Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk last night that mentioned S Roman Harper is expected to be among the release candidates.
- Florio adds that it’s “highly likely” that the Saints will not re-sign veteran LB Jonathan Vilma this offseason.
New Orleans is expected to be nearly $13 million over the cap next season, so tough roster moves clearly have to be made in order to get the Saints in position to offer TE Jimmy Graham a long-term deal.
HC Sean Payton mentioned earlier in the week that tough decisions were likely coming for the Saints.
“It’s very easy to say ‘you are certainly going to get this done’ but you have to understand there is a budget here,” Payton said. “That’s the challenging part. You are going to read these names that have already come across the ticker from Atlanta last week (the release of cornerback Asante Samuel and linebacker Stephen Nicholas) and we will be no different.”
We’ll have more regarding the Saints and their roster cuts in the coming days.