The team announced it terminated the contracts of cornerback Jabari Greer, safety Roman Harper and linebacker/defensive end Will Smith. The Saints also announced they don't plan to re-sign impending free-agent linebacker Jonathan Vilma.
"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."
Smith is coming off an ACL tear after eight solid seasons with the Saints, including a 13-sack year in 2009.
Greer is also coming off an ACL tear, which NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports makes him eligible for $1.05 million in injury protection benefits, and he could be in play for an injury grievance.
As we discussed on the "Around The League Podcast," most cuts this time of year come in the form of well-paid veterans on the wrong side of their NFL careers.
There still might be more cuts and restructures coming from New Orleans with holes to fill and a big contract for tight end Jimmy Graham on the horizon.