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Saints part ways with Greer, Harper, Smith, Vilma

<p>The New Orleans Saints are parting ways with four veteran players from their defense.</p>

Metairie, LA (SportsNetwork.com) - The New Orleans Saints are parting ways with four veteran players from their defense.

The team announced on Wednesday that they have terminated the contracts of cornerback Jabari Greer, safety Roman Harper and defensive end/linebacker Will Smith. In addition, the club will not re-sign linebacker Jonathan Vilma.

All four players were part of the 2009 Super Bowl squad.

"I would like to thank Jabari, Roman, Will and Jonathan for their contributions on and off the field for the New Orleans Saints over the past several years," said Saints owner Tom Benson in a statement. "All four of them played important roles in the success of our club and were great players and teammates. In addition, all of them made a significant impact in our community, especially with our youth and helping serve the less fortunate. On behalf of our organization and our fans, we appreciate everything that they have done for us and wish them continued success."

Before Wednesday, the Saints were at least $12 million over the projected 2014 salary cap of $126 million.

The 32-year-old Smith missed the entire 2013 season with an ACL tear. Selected by the Saints with the No. 18 overall pick in the 2004 draft, Smith recorded 457 tackles, 67 1/2 sacks and two interceptions in 139 career games (120 starts) with New Orleans.

Harper, 31, was selected by the Saints in the second round of the 2006 draft. He started 104 of 108 games with New Orleans and ended his career with 654 tackles, 17 sacks, seven interceptions, 15 forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

Vilma was originally selected by the New York Jets in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft. He was acquired by the Saints in a trade in the 2008 offseason and spent the next six seasons with New Orleans.

In 125 career games (121 starts), Vilma has 871 tackles, 10 1/2 sacks, 12 interceptions, 11 forced fumbles and 10 fumble recoveries. He was limited to just one game in 2013 due to injuries.

Greer was signed by New Orleans as a free agent in 2009 after spending his first five seasons with the Buffalo Bills. In 133 career games, he recorded 413 tackles, two sacks and 13 interceptions.

In 2013, Greer started the first 10 games before suffering a knee injury vs. San Francisco on Nov. 17.

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