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Panthers cutting former Saints safety Vonn Bell

The Carolina Panthers are releasing veteran safety Vonn Bell, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, who they just signed a year ago. Depending on whether or not the Panthers are designating Bell a post-June 1 cut, they’ll be paying $7.9 million to $9.8 million in dead money while Bell is playing elsewhere.

Could he return to the New Orleans Saints? Bell, who turned 29 in December, has developed into a well-rounded safety with better ball skills than he showed in his four years with the Saints. After intercepting just one pass (and breaking up 14 others) in his first 61 games, all in New Orleans, Bell has picked off opposing quarterbacks 6 times with 23 pass deflections in his last 61 games, all starts for the Panthers and Cincinnati Bengals.

Bell clearly knows the system Dennis Allen is running very well. He just had the misfortune of being stuck in Carolina during the middle of a regime change with new general manager Dan Morgan torching many of the contracts his predecessor handed out, including Bell’s. The Saints have to be looking for a replacement at free safety after deciding to release Marcus Maye, or at least competition for second-year pro Jordan Howden. Bell would fit the bill.

So this is something to watch in the days ahead. Bell is several years younger than Malcolm Jenkins was when he reunited with the Saints after a successful run on the Philadelphia Eagles, and he may still have something left in the tank. We’ll see if any interest materializes.

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire