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 beat expectations last season, transforming into a stellar 3-4 scheme unit without a dominant pass rush. They finished ranked 19th against the run and second-best against the pass. Yet they spent money and draft picks on improving the secondary by adding safety Jairus Byrd, giving the team one of the best safety tandems in football. They also added veteran Champ Bailey to add experience and depth to the secondary, something that should help second-round pick Stanley Jean-Baptiste out a bunch. Chances are they'll improve their front seven a little bit, making the unit look awfully appealing. The Saints DST finished as a Top 10 unit last season and our bet is that they finish near there again. Even though their season starts at Atlanta, they're worth a pick within the final two rounds of drafts.