The New Orleans Saints have once again done a 360 when it comes to roster moves or what many think they will do. The names of defensive end Will Smith and linebacker Jonathan Vilma were expected to be called in regards to being a roster cut but instead two others have been released.
Smith and Vilma would make the most sense because of the amount of money that they are due which is close to $20 million for both. With their release, the Saints could have been close to being under the impending salary cap that is said to be $121.6 million.
Instead the Saints announced today that tight end David Thomas and cornerback Johnny Patrick were released. The move to get rid of Thomas was a shocker while Patrick’s departure isn’t.
Thomas became part of the Saints Super Bowl team after a trade with the New England Patriots during the 2009 preseason. The trade was a surprise to Thomas and he found out via a phone call while he was at the hospital as his son was getting stitches following an accident.
But he became an under the radar target for quarterback Drew Brees along with tight end Jeremy Shockey and also helped to mentor Shockey’s eventual replacement Jimmy Graham.
Head Coach Sean Payton called Thomas’ release “extremely difficult” and praised him for his leadership and work ethic. During his seven year career in the NFL Thomas has had 102 receptions for 938 yards and 8 touchdowns.
No words were given to Patrick except goodbye from the organization and fans. Drafted in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft, Patrick showed promise early on but had a horrendous 2012 season.
He was expected to be the starting nickel corner this past season but instead was passed up by rookie Corey White and a later roster addition of Elbert Mack. Having the reputation of terrible coverage abilities, Patrick has only 30 tackles and two passes defended in his two year NFL career.
Reportedly the release of both Thomas and Patrick only give the Saints a mere $1.7 million in cap space relief.