After coming up empty in an effort to move Curtis Lofton in a trade, the Saints are releasing the veteran linebacker, reports Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter). According to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter), the move has already been made, which would make Lofton an unrestricted free agent immediately.
Lofton, 28, has been one of the most dependable and durable pieces on the Saints’ defense in recent years, starting all 48 regular season contests for the team since arriving in New Orleans in 2012. In 2014, he racked up 145 tackles to go along with a forced fumble. However, while his stats looked solid on the surface, Pro Football Focus (subscription required) graded him as a bottom-five inside linebacker, out of 60 qualified players.
There were still three years remaining on Lofton’s contract, so the $5MM left in dead money on his deal will all accelerate to 2015, unless the team designates him as a post-June 1 cut. The post-June 1 designation wouldn’t allow New Orleans to free up any cap space immediately, however, and the team needs to get under the threshold by tomorrow afternoon, so I’d guess it’s just a standard release for Lofton. The move will create $4.25MM in cap savings.