NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans Saints have informed receiver Emmanuel Sanders and linebacker Kwon Alexander they’ll be released in moves that will save the club nearly $20 million against the NFL’s salary cap, a person familiar with the situation said.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Wednesday because the transactions were not yet official.
The moves to cut the two veterans came on the same day the league established that the 2021 cap for player payroll would be $182.5 million. The formula determining the cap is based on overall league revenues, which declined last season because of the COVID-19 restrictions on fan attendance.
Following the releases of Sanders and Alexander, the Saints were projected to remain about $32 million above the salary with about a week to get below it when the new league year begins March 17.
Sanders had 61 catches for 726 yards last season. He was second on the Saints in both categories behind versatile running back Alvin Kamara and ahead of Michael Thomas, who missed much of last season with injuries.
Sanders’ five touchdowns receiving tied for second on the club behind tight end Jared Cook, whom the Saints also cut recently.
Alexander started seven games for the Saints after being traded to New Orleans from San Francisco in midseason. He had 27 solo or assisted tackles, forced a fumble, recovered two fumbles and had four passes defensed.
Meanwhile, the Saints announced they have agreed to terms on a one-year contract with veteran reserve running back and special teams regular Dwayne Washington, who was due to become a free agent this offseason.
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