This week the New Orleans Saints announced that they have cut veteran tight end David Thomas and waived cornerback Johnny Patrick. The Saints are in a salary cap crunch this off-season and they will surely have to restructure and cut a few more players to get under the cap.
With the Saints letting go of Thomas and Patrick it will free up about $2.2 million in cap space. $2.2 million is not a lot in terms of cap salary but any little bit helps, especially when you consider that the Saints are still about $16 million over the salary cap.
The Saints have already restructured the contract of linebacker Curtis Lofton, who led the Saints in tackles in his first season with the team with 123. There have also been talks about restructuring the contracts of veteran defenders Jonathan Vilma and Will Smith. Once their contracts are restructured Vilma and Smith will determine how much money the Saints can save.
Letting go of Thomas was a tougher decision for the Saints than letting go of Patrick. The third-year cornerback never really panned out for the Saints. In 24 career games Patrick only recorded 31 tackles and has yet to record any interceptions. Patrick served mostly as a reserve and was a part of arguably the worst secondary in NFL history last season.
It was a tough decision to let go of Thomas because of what he brought to the team. Thomas is not the best tight end but he gets the job done whether it be blocking or receiving. In 15 games last season Thomas had 11 receptions for 86 yards and a career high four touchdowns. Thomas provided great depth at tight end and he proved his value when Jimmy Graham went down with injury.
With Thomas gone the Saints will likely look for a younger more athletic back up for Graham. However, they could always promote recently re-signed tight end, Michael Higgins, to the number two tight end on the depth chart.
These roster moves were necessary for the Saints to make because it freed up some cap space. The Saints still have a long way to go before they are under the cap space and they will surely need to make some more difficult roster moves as the off-season progresses.