New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis says the club released strong safety Roman Harper, outside linebacker and defensive end Will Smith, and cornerback Jabari Greer.
Loomis also says the club does not intend to re-sign linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who has been hampered by recurring knee injuries the past few seasons.
Loomis says parting ways with four longtime Saints who played key roles in the club's only Super Bowl title was difficult. However, he says the moves were needed to help New Orleans bring its player payroll below the NFL's salary cap.
The Saints have said they intend to retain Pro Bowl tight end Jimmy Graham, either through a franchise tag or long-term extension, and both options will require financial flexibility.
Wednesday's moves will save nearly $17 million in 2014.