Lewis didn't take a paycut with the restructuring, while the team managed to find $1.2 million in salary cap savings in 2014 and $1 million in savings for 2015.
Lewis registered 47 tackles, on forced fumble and four interceptions in his first season with the Saints in 2013.
Saints lock up Jairus Byrd long term
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com (3/11/14) Though they have little room under the cap, the Saints somehow managed to find room for one of the best free agent defenders available. A few hours after free agency opened Tuesday, the team announced the signing of safety Jairus Byrd, the financial terms of which are not yet known.
Byrd has made the Pro Bowl three times in his five-year career, and is coming off a four-interception, 48-tackle season despite playing just 11 games for the Bills last season.
Johnson appeared in 40 games for the Saints over three seasons, totaling 55 tackles and 5.0 sacks. The 29-year-old will now become an unrestricted free agent.
Junior Galette 'a steal' for Saints
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com (1/22/14) Saints outside linebacker Junior Galette broke out in 2013, starting every game from Week 2 on and ranking second on the team with 12 sacks and 22 quarterback hits. Galette led the Saints with 14 tackles for loss.
Galette signed a contract extension last offseason through 2015. With his cap number at $2.9 million the next two seasons, "he's a steal for the Saints," reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
Galette helped New Orleans pile up 49 sacks, which ranked fourth in the NFL. The Saints had just 30 sacks in 2012.
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The Saints defense will undergo some significant changes in 2013 as it switches from a 4-3 front to a 3-4 scheme under the eye of new coordinator Rob Ryan. It can't get worse than what they've had of late. In 2012 the defense registered 30 sacks, 11 forced fumbles, 15 interceptions and a league-worst 440.1 total yards per game. One big issue is that switching schemes doesn't always work so well, and another is that coach Ryan has struggled in stops in Oakland, Cleveland and Dallas to build effective defenses. Though they added some promising players like Keenan Lewis, Victor Butler and rookies Kenny Vaccaro and John Jenkins, we wouldn't run the risk of drafting the Saints DST. (Updated 5/10/13)