METAIRIE, La. -- The New Orleans Saints cut Jason David on Monday, letting go of a former starting cornerback who made his share of big plays, but gave up even more.
David arrived in New Orleans as a high-profile, restricted free agent in 2007, when the Saints signed him to a four-year deal worth $15.6 million.
In his first game for the Saints, he returned a fumble for a touchdown, but also gave up touchdown passes of 27, 28 and 45 yards against his former team, the Indianapolis Colts. During the past two seasons, he made eight interceptions, but often drew boos from the Louisiana Superdome crowd as the receivers he covered piled up yardage.
"You try to, as best you can, evaluate a body of work," coach Sean Payton said after the roster move. "I think we feel like where we're at right now at corner -- certainly, we feel like we have more depth than we've had in the past -- that it was a decision we wanted to make."
The move will save money for the Saints as David was set to earn about $2.4 million this season.
"The economics do come into consideration," Payton said. "It was best for us to move on."
David's five interceptions led the Saints in 2008, but the 5-foot-8 defensive back's lowlights seemed to overshadow his successes during his stint in New Orleans.
In 2007, he was the cover cornerback on a 69-yard TD by Tampa Bay's Joey Galloway, an 80-yard TD by Jacksonville's Reggie Williams, and Andre Johnson's 73-yard touchdown catch. He also gave up a pair of TDs in a loss to then-winless St. Louis.
In 2008, he initially lost his starting job but was pressed into action because of injuries. A 39-yard TD at Tampa, a 39-yard jump ball pass to Carolina's Steve Smith, and a 39-yard pass interference penalty at Chicago that set up a touchdown were a sampling of plays David was involved in last season.
During the offseason, the Saints signed free agent cornerback Jabari Greer, got second-year cornerback and former starter Tracy Porter back from an injury, then drafted Ohio State cornerback Malcolm Jenkins 14th overall.
Still, the Saints kept David nearly three weeks into 2009 training camp.
"We wanted to see how Malcom Jenkins was doing. We wanted to see how Jabari Greer was doing," Payton said. "We try to truly evaluate and not just slot based on what we think."
During Friday night's preseason opener against Cincinnati, David was covering on Chris Henry's 39-yard reception and 14-yard touchdown catch.
David returned to practice on Sunday, but the Saints decided on Monday they wanted to sign cornerback Greg Fassitt, a former Grambling State player who was released by Tampa Bay last spring. With the roster at the current training camp maximum of 80 players, someone had to go, and it was David.
Payton said David took the news like a "professional."
"We'll try to help him in any way, shape, or form," Payton said. "There's still enough time in the preseason for him to land with someone else."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press