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Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) is pushed by New Orleans Saints defensive back Kurt Coleman (29) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman) ORG XMIT: GAMS107

The Saints have parted ways with Kurt Coleman.

New Orleans released the safety Thursday one year after signing him, a source confirmed. NFL Network first reported the move.

Coleman would have counted $7 million against the salary cap. The move will save the Saints $4 million in space, with the balance remaining on the books in the form of dead money.

The Saints signed Coleman last year after he was released by the Panthers to replace Kenny Vaccaro, who eventually hooked on with the Tennessee Titans. But Coleman never developed as hoped, and former second-round pick Vonn Bell emerged and ran away with the job.

Coleman often served as the “base” safety, taking the field only in running situations, which limited his overall impact. He only played more than 50 percent of the snaps in three games, including the season opener — before Bell supplanted him — and the season finale — when the Saints rested key players.

The veteran safety did not play any snaps on defense in a playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles and only three against the Los Angeles Rams.

Bell, meanwhile, became one of the better performers on defense after taking a few years to realize his potential playing behind Vaccaro. But because he hadn't yet emerged at the time, signing Coleman felt like a necessary move.

New Orleans will enter next season with Bell and free safety Marcus Williams the presumed starters. The other top backup at the position, Chris Banjo, is due to reach free agency. The Saints presumably will look to add some depth at the position this offseason.

Coleman was cut by the Panthers ahead of free agency last offseason in a move to create cap space. The Saints and Bengals both competed for his services, and the safety took less money to join New Orleans.

His presence was supposed to help settle a young secondary that was looking to take a step forward after a breakout season in 2017, and his ability to play both strong and free safety was expected to allow defensive coordinator Dennis Allen some flexibility with disguising coverages.

While Coleman had a positive presence in the locker room, his impact on the field never quite materialized.


Follow Nick Underhill on Twitter, @nick_underhill.​