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Saints release linebacker Curtis Lofton

In a move designed to clear more than $4 million in salary cap space, the Saints have released linebacker Curtis Lofton, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday.

ESPN first reported the news.

This was a foregone conclusion after initial word from Rapoport that the Saints were trying to deal him. They knew this was the next option if they didn't get someone to bite.

The 28-year-old was in the middle of a five-year, $27.5 million contract that New Orleans probably never intended on seeing all the way through.

With Rob Ryan staying as defensive coordinator, the linebacker position will remain a flexible one. The coach -- who talked about having five safety-type players on the field at once -- has always been more concerned about position versatility anyway.

Lofton was the 45th-best linebacker against the pass in football, according to Pro Football Focus.

In short, the Saints viewed him as replaceable. That doesn't mean that there won't be a bustling market for his services. Lofton has always been a solid option in the middle and the inside linebacker market is growing dramatically thinner by the day.

With teams looking to bolster their depth charts and get stronger against the run, expect to see his name in the visits tracker sooner rather than later.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast breaks down the Brandon Marshall trade and plays another game of "Go Get My Lunch." Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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