BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The New Orleans Saints are trying to free up millions of dollars in efforts to sign restricted-free agent tight end Jimmy Graham.
ESPN and other national outlets are reporting that Saints veteran wide receiver Lance Moore has been released.
Late Friday afternoon the Saints announced that they have terminated the contract of Lance Moore.
"Lance Moore came to us as a rookie and over nine years he made an outstanding contribution to our franchise," said Saints Owner/Chairman of the Board Tom Benson."He constantly worked hard to get better, showed great enthusiasm for the game and played a big role in our success. He also made significant contributions off the field to our community. Lance's performance has earned the respect of our entire organization and fans and we thank him for everything."
"Just like some of the decisions we made on the defensive side of the ball a few weeks ago, this move today is just as difficult," said Loomis. "Lance was very important to our productivity on offense and our success as a team overall. He joined us in the middle of the 2005 season and progressed from the practice squad to becoming one of the most productive receivers in the history of our franchise and helping us win a Super Bowl and reach the postseason five times. You couldn't ask for more from Lance both on and off the field and we wish him the best of luck."
"Lance Moore made a significant contribution to our team's success," said Saints Head Coach Sean Payton. "While his production on paper is obvious, it only tells half the story. Lance came to us an undrafted rookie who went to NFL Europe and spent time on our practice squad. He went on to produce outstanding results on the field for us as a result of his work ethic, reliability and commitment to get better every day. He's been one of the pillars of what we have built here as an organization."
The 30-year-old Moore was a fan favorite since jumping into a prime time role at receiver beginning in 2006. By releasing Moore, the Saints will save $2.5 million against this year's salary cap. It could go as high as $3.8 million.
Moore tweeted a farewell message to Saints fans at 7:07 Friday morning,"Thank you New Orleans for an amazing nine years. Who Dat Nation, the best on earth!!!"
It's no secret the Saints were trying to negotiate trades involving Moore and running backs Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles.
Moore had 346 career receptions in New Orleans for 4,281 yards and 38 touchdowns. He hauled in 66 catches in 2010, 52 in 2011, 65 receptions in 2012 and a career best 1,041 yards .
Last season he was bothered by a hand injury and his production fell off with 37 catches and only 2 touchdowns.
His best overall season was in 2008 when Lance became a prime time target for quarterback Drew Brees. In snagged 79 catches for 928 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Moore had two years remaining on his contract. He was going to make $3.8 million in salary this season, plus a $500,000 roster bonus.
There's a good possibility Moore could end up in a Lions uniform. Former New Orleans Saints quarterbacks coach, Joe Lombardi is Detroit's new offensive coordinator and he knows what Lance could mean to the Lions offensive attack.