Report: Saints expected to release DT Malcom Brown

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John Sigler
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NFL insider Josina Anderson reported Friday that the New Orleans Saints intend to terminate their contract with starting nose tackle Malcom Brown, saving nearly $5 million against the salary cap. This wasn’t entirely unexpected; Brown’s name popped up in trade talks recently, but between teams over-valuing their draft picks and under-valuing good run defenders like Brown, it was probably difficult for the Saints to cut a deal.

Still, it’s a tougher loss than it appears on the surface. Brown was a force in the middle of the Saints defensive line, and the unit noticeably stepped back when he wasn’t available against the Philadelphia Eagles (snapping their 55-game streak of games played without allowing a 100-yard rusher). It won’t be easy to replace him, and the problem is compounded if veteran defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins leaves in free agency.

That’s not to say the Saints don’t have options. David Onyemata has developed into one of the sport’s better interior defenders. Young backups Shy Tuttle and Malcolm Roach have earned more minutes. But moving on from both Brown and Rankins in the same offseason creates a void of experience that no one on the roster is positioned well to replace.

Brown initially signed a three-year, $15 million contract with the Saints as a New England Patriots free agent back in 2019. He appeared in 29 regular season games and 3 playoff games, all starts. Just 27 years old, it shouldn’t take long for him to land on his feet.