5:30pm: Agent Lamont Smith (on Twitter) says that Thomas has been officially let go.
3:17pm: The Saints have begun working their way toward getting under the salary cap for 2015, informing veteran running back Pierre Thomas that he will be released, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). When the move becomes official, Thomas won’t have to clear waivers before becoming an unrestricted free agent.
When the Saints parted ways with Darren Sproles last March, the team re-committed to Thomas, signing him to a two-year, $4MM extension that spanned the 2015 and 2016 seasons. However, Thomas won’t play any of that new deal, which allowed the team to reduce his 2014 cap number. By cutting him now, the Saints will create $1.735MM in cap savings for 2015, carrying $800K in dead money on their books.
Thomas, 30, saw his 2014 campaign derailed by injuries and by an increasing workload for Mark Ingram, who received many of the carries that would have gone to Thomas in past years. Before he finished the season on injured reserve, Thomas ran for 222 yards on 45 attempts, both career-low totals. He did remain fairly involved in the passing game, however, grabbing 45 balls out of the backfield.
Plenty more moves will be coming for the Saints, who entered the day about $22MM above the 2015 cap, according to Over the Cap’s data. As for Thomas, he should be a fairly inexpensive signing this month for a team looking to add depth at the running back position.