The First Day of Free Agency a Busy One For Saints & NFL

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

For the Saints, some familiar faces found new homes with new teams. Others worked out new deals to stay in the Black and Gold fold. Around the NFL, many once-heralded veterans remain unsigned.

As expected, the NFL's first day of free agency saw many players change teams while others were released and are still seeking new homes. We can only expect similar activity for the rest of the week and most likely beyond. The NFL offseason is now in full swing! Here's a quick rundown on the Saints' moves and on other free agents around the league who may draw the Saints' interest.

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Saints release LB Will Herring

It was a slow morning yesterday, but activity quickly picked up in the afternoon. The first news from Saints headquarters was on the release of LB Will Herring. No surprise here. I mistakenly thought he was already gone.

NFL Free Agency 2013: Saints Release Will Herring - Canal Street Chronicles
Saints free up some much-needed salary cap space by releasing the backup linebacker.

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Will Smith & Jonathan Vilma restructure contracts to remain with Saints

Not very long after came the news we Who Dats had been waiting on for weeks. We all had been wondering if veterans Will Smith and Jonathan Vilma would restructure their cap-bloating contracts or simply be cut from the roster. They chose to restructure and will remain with the team at least through this season. These restructures plus the Herring release saved the Saints around $11 million and finally got us under the salary cap.

NFL Free Agency 2013: Will Smith and Jonathan Vilma Restructure Contracts - Canal Street Chronicles
The Saints finally slide under the salary cap while keeping two of their defensive leaders on the team for 2013.

NFL Free Agency 2013: Will Smith, Jonathan Vilma Restructures and Herring Release Get Saints Under Salary Cap - Canal Street Chronicles
Instead of going on a signing spree, the Saints spent the first day of the 2013 NFL free agency period freeing up money to go shopping later.

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QB Chase Daniel signs with the Chiefs

There had been much speculation recently that teams were interested in our long-time QB back-up Chase Daniel. That speculation became fact as the Kansas City Chiefs snatched the free agent away from us with a 3-year contract. Chase was an excellent player for us when he got the chance to take the field. He will be missed. I wouldn't be at all surprised if he beat out Alex Smith for the Chiefs' starting QB job. He's learned from one of the best in Drew Brees. He wasn't just holding that clipboard for three years so Drew could rest his Gatorade on it.

NFL Free Agency 2013: Chiefs Sign Chase Daniel - Canal Street Chronicles
Looks like the Saints are now in the market for a backup quarterback as Chase Daniel leaves for a three-year deal with Kansas City.

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OT Jermon Bushrod signs with the Bears

It was reported on Monday that the Saints had not yet contacted starting left tackle and free agent Jermon Bushrod regarding a new contract. It was thought that they were letting him test the market to see what his going value would be. Well, it looks like the Bears, now with former Saints O-line coach Aaron Kramer as OC, were willing to pay more for him than the Saints were. The loss of Bushrod now begs the question - who will now protect Drew Brees' blind side? Charles Brown? Someone new via free agency or the draft? We'll have to wait and see.

NFL Free Agency 2013: Bears Sign Jermon Bushrod - Canal Street Chronicles
Saints lose their best offensive tackle as Bushrod heads to Chicago on a five-year deal.

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Other player news in NFL free agency

In other news from around the league, several once highly regarded defensive players are now or may soon be looking for a new team. Remember Nnamdi Asomugha? He sorta disappeared while in Philly. He's now on the market.

Philadelphia Eagles release cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha | NOLA.com
He was due to make $15 million this season

Another CB who has given the Saints fits from time to time is also still available.

No deal between Brent Grimes, Falcons | ProFootballTalk
It's a crazy, upside-down, topsy-turvy day in the NFL. And so some things are going to fall through the cracks. Which is what happened earlier today, when a report emerged from D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Grimes has agreed to a one-year deal with the Falcons.

In Denver, Elvis Dumervil is reportedly on the chopping block.

Elvis Dumervil willing to restructure, but may be cut anyway | ProFootballTalk

The Broncos and defensive end Elvis Dumervil are still talking. Whether they can come to an agreement or not remains unclear. Dumervil, who appeared to be on the way out because the Broncos aren't willing to pay him $12 million this season and he wasn't willing to take less, is now willing to talk...

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Keep checking Canal Street Chronicles today for more New Orleans Saints free agency news as it becomes available.

More Saints Free Agency News

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