The New Orleans Saints announced Tuesday that they terminated the contract of veteran tight end David Thomas, a move that wasn’t totally unexpected.
The Saints also waived cornerback Johnny Patrick, who was the second of their two third-round draft picks in 2011.
Thomas, a seven-year veteran, was entering the final year of a three-year contract he signed before the 2011 season.
He was scheduled to earn $1.5 million in base salary this season and had a cap figure of $2.2 million.
Thomas had been with the Saints since 2009 when he was acquired from the New England Patriots in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick just before the season opener. He helped the Saints win Super Bowl XLIV that season.
The 6-foot-3, 248-pound Thomas, a solid blocker who occasionally lined up in the backfield at fullback, caught 81 passes for 677 yards and seven touchdowns in 48 games with the Saints.
“This was an extremely difficult decision to make with David today,” General Manager Mickey Loomis said in a team news release. “Since he came here in 2009, he’s been an important part of our team — both with his performance on the field and with the outstanding veteran leadership he’s provided for us.”
“David has been important part of our team since the day he arrived here,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “And we appreciate everything he did for us these last four seasons. … On the field, he would set a physical tone, and his versatility proved to be a great asset for us.”
Patrick, who was scheduled to make $550,000 this year, played two seasons with the Saints, mostly as a reserve. The 5-11, 191-pounder recorded 29 tackles with three passes defensed in 24 career games and had five special teams tackles.
Also, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted Tuesday night that the Saints will ask defensive end Will Smith and linebacker Jonathan Vilma to restructure their contracts, which isn’t a surprise considering their cap hits for this season are $14.5 million and $8.6 million, respectively.