The New Orleans Saints have begun their cost-cutting exercise in earnest with the confirmation that they have released three players from their contracts.
The Saints need to cut their wage bill, with reports suggesting that they are $13 million over their salary cap.
That has put extra pressure on the team, with tight-end Jimmy Graham's new contract to be negotiated.
The 2009 Superbowl winners have confirmed that cornerback Jabari Greer, safety Roman Harper and linebacker/defensive end Will Smith had all had their contracts terminated.
It is also being reported that Jonathan Vilma won't be re-signed when his contract expires either.
Saints coach Sean Payton says it was a hard decision to let the three players leave, but that it had to be done in the best interests of the team.
"I have coached and been around a lot of great players and I put these four guys right there at the top," Payton said in the team release.
"Jabari, Roman, Will and Jonathan all represent and epitomize what we look for in our players. These are disciplined, smart, tough and team-oriented individuals. They all played an important role in helping this team and this city win its first Super Bowl and they have all enjoyed multiple playoff appearances and wins."
According to reports, the move to cut the three veterans will remove around $16 million from the Saints cap.
With Graham's new contract to fit in, there is likely to be more cuts made in the future.
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