According to reports, the New Orleans Saints are releasing defensive tackle Malcom Brown. The move is another cost-cutting maneuver to get under the salary cap by the start of free agency on March 17th.
Brown would have cost nearly $6.5 million against the salary cap in 2021, the last year of his contract. His release creates $4.94 million in cap for New Orleans. There were previous reports that the Saints were trying to trade the talented defensive lineman, but will now release him after those attempts were unsuccessful.
Brown entered the NFL as a 1st round choice, 32nd overall, by the New England Patriots in the 2015 draft out of Texas. He played in 60 out of 64 regular season games in four years with New England, playing in three Super Bowls and part of two Super Bowl championships. During his time with the Patriots, Brown accumulated 9.5 sacks, 17 QB hits, and 16 tackles for loss.
Brown joined the Saints as a free agent in 2019 and had 2.5 sacks, 5 QB pressures, and 6 tackles for loss in his first year with the team. He misses three games with injuries last year, but still had a sack, 3 pressures, and 4 tackles for loss. The 27-Yr old Brown is one of the NFL's most respected run defenders and is a main reason for the Saints dominance against the rush over the last two seasons.
New Orleans had the league's deepest rotation of defensive tackles in 2020. That depth takes a serious hit with Brown's release and the potential free agent loss of DT Sheldon Rankins.
The Saints must now count on increased snaps and production from third-year DT Shy Tuttle and second-year DT Malcolm Roach to go alongside star David Onyemata inside. They could try to bring Brown back at a lower salary, look to bring in a less expensive free agent veteran, or address this position in the draft.