Saints eliminate punter Thomas Morstead, oldest player behind Drew Brees, after 12 seasons in New Orleans

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers

The New Orleans Saints are expected to lose their longest-serving player, quarterback Drew Brees this offseason. On Thursday, they parted ways with their second-longest-serving player in veteran 12-year punter Thomas Morstead. Faced with a precarious salary cap situation in 2021 with the official start of free agency rapidly approaching, the Saints announced that they released the 34-year-old Morstead, who spent his entire NFL career in New Orleans, saving at least $ 2.5 millions.

“Thomas Morstead has been the epitome of the consummate professional since the day we selected him in the 2009 NFL Draft,” Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said in a team statement. “He has been a remarkable bettor and outstanding leader in the locker room and team captain eight times. His work in the community has been nothing short of remarkable. We know that as we get closer to the start of the NFL calendar year, that It is very difficult. Decisions have to be made and this certainly falls into this category. We appreciate the dedication and professionalism that Thomas has brought to our organization from the moment he joined our team and we sincerely wish him and his family the best “.

A fifth-round pick from Southern Methodist University, Morstead became synonymous with the Saints over the course of his 12 seasons, appearing in 190 games and averaging 41.6 net yards per punt in his career, second-best ever. . timestamp since the league began tracking statistics in 1976. Also the Saints’ top kickoff specialist for six years, he was a 2012 Pro Bowl pick and successfully converted a side kick in Super Bowl XLIV, New Orleans’ only victory in the Super Bowl.

At age 34 and coming off a 2020 season in which he posted the lowest average yards per punt of his career, however, Morstead was widely considered a potential salary cap drop. It was owed $ 4.5 million in 2021, as well as $ 4.75 million in 2022 in the last two years of a four-year, $ 15.6 million extension signed in 2018.

The veteran told reporters immediately after his release Thursday that he intends to play elsewhere in 2021.

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