Just a few hours after Lance Moore tweeted an apparent farewell to fans, a source has told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the Saints will release the wide receiver.
Moore, who has two years left on his contract, was set to make $3.8 million between his salary and bonuses this season. That total included a $500,000 roster bonus that was due to him this month. The team will save between $2.5 million and $3.8 million against this year’s cap space.
Due to their decision to put the franchise tag on tight end Jimmy Graham and restricted free agent tender on safety Rafael Bush, the Saints are pushing against the cap. They can create space by releasing more players before free agency begins on Tuesday and by reframing the contracts of other players.
Moore, who had spent the most time with the Saints of anyone on the team’s roster and was named the team’s Man of the Year in 2012, ranks in the top-five receivers in Saints history in receptions with 346 and touchdown catches with 38 to go along with his 4,281 yards.
– With his team in the hunt for a veteran quarterback, Vikings running back and 2012 NFL MVP Adrian Peterson tweeted his opinion on who should fill the void Wednesday night.
Michael Vick is coming off a season when he played in just six games for the Eagles after he suffered a hamstring injury and lost his job to Nick Foles. Since 2006, the 34-year-old Vick has not started in more than 13 games in a season and, according to ESPN.com, is not a great fit for Minnesota’s new offensive coordinator Norv Turner.
The Vikings might just need to look at Vick regardless, though, as he is one of the more credible quarterbacks in a slim free agent market. Minnesota currently has just one quarterback under contract — Christian Ponder — as Matt Cassel opted out of his contract in February and Josh Freeman, who played in one game last year, is a free agent.
Vikings general manager Rick Spielman, who appeared on ESPN’s “The Herd” on Thursday, said he could not comment on Vick because of tampering rules, but that if the team was to decide to bring in a high-profile player, it would need to analyze the impact it would have on the team’s culture.
“When Brett Favre was here it became a real media attention-grabber, but we ended up getting to the NFC championship game,” Spielman said. “A lot of it has to do with how the coaches feel about it. Do you want distractions? Is your team mature enough to handle the distractions? It’s always going to come down to: Can you handle it and is he going to help you win ballgames?”
Vick and the Eagles reportedly have not ruled out the chance that the quarterback makes a return to Philadelphia.
– All-time NFL leader in punt and kick return touchdowns Devin Hester announced Wednesday during an interview with the NFL Network that he was not re-signing with the Bears.
“From my knowledge, I know that Chicago wants to go a different route with me,” Hester said. “All I can say is thanks to the fans for their support. They’ve always been great to me, always been loyal. I couldn’t have played for a better city than those guys. At the end of my career, I do want to retire as a member of the Bears.”
Chicago general manager Phil Emery released a statement Thursday thanking Hester.
“For the past eight seasons, we have been honored to have Devin Hester as a part of our organization,” Emery said. “While Devin has redefined the pinnacle standard of the return position in the NFL, the memories and contributions he has given us cannot be measured by stats or numbers.”
Hester has had 13 punt return touchdowns and 18 kick return touchdowns in his career. He also is tied with Hall of Famer Deion Sanders for most regular-season return touchdowns with 19.
The three-time Pro-Bowler is experiencing a similar departure from Chicago as linebacker Brian Urlacher, who split with the team in 2013. Urlacher, who works as an analyst for Fox Sports 1, said that the Bears should have found a way to keep Hester.
“Look at what the Steelers have done the last couple of days signing Troy Polamalu, Heath Miller, some older guys to a couple more years just so they can retire as Steelers,” Urlacher said. “The Bears could do that with Devin. He should retire a Bear. He set all those records in a Bears uniform and his No. 23 should be retired one day in Chicago.
“It’s just the loyalty factor. It’s just not there. He should be a guy that retires a Bear.”
– Veteran linebacker D’Qwell Jackson and the Colts agreed to a four-year contract worth $22 million, $11 million of which is guaranteed, according to Schefter.
“It wasn’t a financial decision, it was a decision to be around a good group of guys first and foremost and the chance to get to a Super Bowl,” Jackson said. “It wasn’t about money.”
Jackson and the Browns parted ways on Feb. 26. The linebacker was due a $4.1 million roster bonus in March.
By agreeing to the contract with the Colts, Jackson is reunited with former Browns coach Rob Chudzinski, who is now working as one of Chuck Pagano‘s assistants.
“We are pleased to announce the signing of inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson,” Colts general manager Ryan Grigson said. “He is a team-first guy that has been a very consistent producer on the field. The tempo, energy and determination he plays with are right up there with the best in this league. He brings a welcomed element of experience and natural leadership to our team, and we are excited to add him to the strong nucleus of linebackers we currently have on our roster.”
– The Broncos confirmed Thursday that they have released cornerback Champ Bailey, who had a $1 million bonus due to him on March 15. With the move, the Broncos save $10 million in cap space.
“This was a difficult decision for our team with everything that Champ Bailey has meant to the Denver Broncos and this community over the last 10 years,” said the team’s executive vice president of football operations and general manager John Elway. “Without question, he’s among the best cornerbacks to ever play the game and one of the finest players in the history of the Broncos. You couldn’t ask for more in a player than what Champ brought to the team. His combination of elite talent, class, leadership and competitiveness made him one of the all-time greats.
“On behalf of everyone with the Broncos, I wish Champ all the best and thank him for everything he did for this franchise. Champ will always be a Bronco. We look forward to his Ring of Fame and Pro Football Hall of Fame election in the years ahead.”
The 36-year-old Bailey played in a career-low five regular-season games this past season after he suffered a foot injury. Bailey, who was in the final year of his deal with the team, has played for the Broncos since they traded for him from the Redskins in 2004.