Safety Louis Delmas — one of the most notable NFL free agents available at the moment — visited with the Saints on Thursday, a league source confirmed for The Advocate.
Delmas’ trip to New Orleans is certainly timely as the Saints recently released veteran safety Roman Harper; and another mainstay at the position, Malcolm Jenkins, is due to hit unrestricted free agency on March 11.
Another safety, Rafael Bush, is set to become a restricted free agent; though he and the Saints have spoken about prolonging his stay in New Orleans, according to an NFL source. The only Saints player who both spent most of his time in 2013 at safety and is currently under contract for next year is Kenny Vaccaro, the team’s first-round draft pick in 2013.
After being limited to just eight games with a knee injury in 2012, Delmas played all of 2013 for Detroit, tallying 64 tackles, two sacks and a career-high three picks. He also had a career-high nine pass break-ups.
The Lions selected Delmas out of Western Michigan in the second round of the 2009 draft. They released him earlier this month to avoid paying him the $5.5 million base salary and $500,000 roster bonus he was owed in 2014.
Delmas visited the Steelers recently and is of interest to several teams, media reports say. Pro Football Talk first reported his sit-down with New Orleans on Twitter.
Estimates are that the Saints have a salary-cap figure of $125 million, and recent reports speculate that the 2014 cap could be about $132 million. Much of that cap space will be directed toward hanging on to All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham, whether through a franchise tag or a new long-term deal the two sides are reportedly not close to agreeing on; but the team nonetheless is exploring retaining its own free agents and now also talking about attracting others out there.
Graham is at the end of the rookie contract he accepted from the Saints in 2010.