The Saints made three roster moves Thursday evening on the eve of the start of the free agent signing bonanza. LB Mark Simoneau and OG Jamar Nesbit, along with DE Charles Grant on Friday, were all released by the team due to the players’ large contracts and declining production.
Grant’s release should come as no surprise to those who follow the Saints. His production on the field is in decline and he has not been able to live up to the multi-year contract he had signed a couple of years ago. Not to mention he has finished the last couple of seasons on injured reserved, most recently with a torn triceps muscle.
Grant was due to make over $4 million this season. However, due to the lack of a salary cap this upcoming season, the Saints are off the hook in on paying him that amount and his $11.3 million in prorated signing bonuses. And of course, with no salary cap, the Saints don’t have to worry about that amount counting against any caps space as in years past. Confused? We’ll work on that over the next couple of days.
The defensive end, drafted by the Saints in 2002 out of the University of Georgia, played in 118 games for the Saints, including 106 starts. His 47 sacks in those eight seasons rank him eighth on the team’s all-time sack leaders list.
Mark Simoneau, a fan favorite at LB, was also released as the Saints cleaned house. He has completely missed the last two seasons, first 2008 with a back injury and a torn triceps muscle last season.
The veteran LB was signed from the Philadelphia Eagles during the 2006 preseason and started 30 of the next 32 games as a Saint. He was due $1.25 million in the final year of his current contract.
OG Jamar Nesbit, also a victim of the Saints’ spring cleaning, was expendable due to the emergence of a younger Carl Nicks. The 11 year veteran played in 84 games with the Saints, including 43 starts. Last season, he played in 13 contests, primarily on special teams.
Grant, Simoneau, and Nesbit are all free to re-sign with the Saints under restructured contracts or sign with another team.