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Few teams are chasing the salary cap bag as passionately as the New Orleans Saints, and for good reason. The team started this calendar year monstrously in the red, over the projected NFL salary cap by more than $54 million. With the 2021 salary cap now set at $182.5 million, head coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis know exactly what needs to be done, even if it's a list filled with uncomfortable decisions. The latest involves defensive tackle Malcom Brown, who will reportedly be released ahead of free agency and made free to sign with another team, per NFL insider Josina Anderson. 

The move will free up $4.94 million in savings toward the salary cap, jettisoning the before he could enter the final year of his contract. His total cap hit would've amounted to $6.44 million, but the Saints will be forced to digest $1.5 million of it.

This comes less than 24 hours after New Orleans waved goodbye to Pro Bowl cornerback Janoris Jenkins, suffering a dead money hit of $7.2 million but ultimately saving $7 million toward the cap. Prior to that, they released wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and linebacker Kwon Alexander to grab another $19.6 million in savings, along with restructuring deals on Cameron Jordan and Demario Davis. With the coming move on Brown, the Saints will presumably finally be in the green, even if barely. If they want to make moves in free agency, however, they can't simply stop at trying to get into cap compliance by March 17.

That said, more triggers are expected to be pulled in some way, shape or form, after having already also restructured the deal on future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees -- still awaiting a decision on if he'll retire from the NFL or return for another year. All they can do is twiddle thumbs in that regard, but definitely not in their pursuit to climb out of the salary cap grave.

Brown is a two-time Super Bowl winning nose tackle who began his NFL career as a former first-round pick of the New England Patriots, playing out his rookie deal in Boston before signing a three-year, $15 million deal with the Saints in 2019. Mostly durable in his time in Louisiana, the 27-year-old didn't miss a game in 2019 and only three regular season games in 2020, something that will only increase his already solid value on the open market.