Having to get under the salary cap by March 12th, the New Orleans Saints announced the release of a key player on Tuesday, and the waiving of another.

Tight end David Thomas has been released. Thomas has served as the second string tight end and situational H-Back for the Saints the last 4 seasons, and was an integral member of the 2009 Super Bowl team. He was scheduled to make $1.5 million in 2013, with a cap number of $2.2 million. It would have been the last year of his contract.

"David has been important part of our team since the day he arrived here immediately after the 2009 preseason and we appreciate everything he did for us these last four seasons. With his dependability, intelligence and work ethic, he was someone our players and coaches could always rely on. On the field, he would set a physical tone and his versatility proved to be a great asset for us," Saints Coach Sean Payton said in a statement.

The Saints also waived cornerback Johnny Patrick. Patrick was a third-round pick in 2011 out of Louisville, but struggled in limited action as the team's nickle back.