- Mike Triplett, ESPN Staff Writer
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Earlier Friday, Moore tweeted out an apparent farewell message to fans.
Thank you New Orleans for an amazing nine years. Who Dat Nation, the best on earth!!!
- Lance Moore (@LanceMoore16) March 7, 2014
Moore, 30, was due to make $3.8 million in salary and bonuses this year, including a $500,000 roster bonus due this month. His pending release was first reported by ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
He has two years remaining on his contract. By releasing him, the Saints save at least $2.5 million against this year's salary cap -- and possibly the full $3.8 million if they designate his release as a post-June 1 move.
"While his production on paper is obvious, it only tells half the story," Saints coach Sean Payton said in a statement. "Lance came to us an undrafted rookie who went to NFL Europe and spent time on our practice squad. He went on to produce outstanding results on the field for us as a result of his work ethic, reliability and commitment to get better every day. He's been one of the pillars of what we have built here as an organization."
The Saints have parted ways with some longtime veteran players this offseason while carving out cap space. In February, they released former defensive stalwarts Will Smith, Jonathan Vilma, Roman Harper and Jabari Greer.
The team also plans to release running back Darren Sproles if it's unable to trade him, according to multiple reports.
And sources said Thursday they're shopping veteran running back Pierre Thomas.
"Just like some of the decisions we made on the defensive side of the ball a few weeks ago, this move today is just as difficult," general manager Mickey Loomis said in the statement. "[Moore] progressed from the practice squad to becoming one of the most productive receivers in the history of our franchise and helping us win a Super Bowl and reach the postseason five times. You couldn't ask for more from Lance both on and off the field and we wish him the best of luck."
The Saints are estimated to be right up against the cap after making a franchise-tag tender to tight end Jimmy Graham and a restricted-free-agent tender to safety Rafael Bush this week. They can carve out more space by restructuring contracts with veterans and possibly releasing other players before free agency begins Tuesday.
Moore has been with the Saints longer than any other player on the roster, having joined the practice squad in 2005. He has been a core part of the team's record-breaking offense throughout the Payton-Drew Brees era. The former undrafted rookie out of Toledo ranks among the top five receivers in Saints history in receptions (346) and touchdown catches (38) to go along with 4,281 yards. He was named the Saints' man of the year in 2012 for his work on and off the field.
Moore had his first 1,000-yard season in 2012. His role diminished last season after he missed three weeks with a hand injury. When he returned, he was used primarily as the team's No. 3 receiver, having fallen behind rookie Kenny Stills. He finished the regular season with just 37 catches for 457 yards and two touchdowns.
1hDianna Russini and Adam Schefter
13hEric D. Williams
1dBy Dan Graziano
2dMatt Walks, ESPN.com