NEW ORLEANS - The New Orleans Saints released veteran receiver Lance Moore on Friday. Before the move was announced, Moore all but confirmed it with a note on Twitter, writing, "Thank you New Orleans for an amazing nine years. Who Dat Nation, the best on earth!!!" Cutting Moore, who was due $3.1 million in base salary next season, marked the latest of several cost-cutting moves by the Saints as they seek to create space under the NFLs salary cap to work out a long-term extension with star tight end Jimmy Graham. In the past month, the Saints have cut defensive end Will Smith, safety Roman Harper and cornerback Jabari Greer, who were all starters on New Orleans 2009 Super Bowl team. In addition, the Saints have said they would not bring back free agent linebacker Jonathan Vilma, a former defensive captain who has been hampered by knee injuries in recent seasons. "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. "Lance was very important to our productivity on offence and our success as a team overall. ... You couldnt ask for more from Lance both on and off the field and we wish him the best of luck." Meanwhile, there were signs of more moves to come. Running back and return specialist Darren Sproles, due $3.4 million in base salary in 2014, wrote on Twitter: "Thank you New Orleans for your support over the past 3 years! I will always be forever grateful. #WhoDat" The NFL did not release any formal transactions involving Sproles and the Saints did not immediately comment on the significance of Sproles Twitter post. Sproles joined the Saints as a free agent in 2011, setting an NFL record for total yards in a season with 2,696. Last season, Sproles, who routinely catches passes out of the backfield, accounted for 604 yards and two touchdowns receiving to go with 220 yards and two TDs rushing. He returned 29 punts, with his longest return going for 28 yards, and ran back 12 kickoffs, none for more than 32 yards. Moore entered the NFL with Cleveland as an undrafted free agent out of Toledo in 2005 and joined the Saints practice squad later that season. "Lance Moore made a significant contribution to our teams success," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "While his production on paper is obvious, it only tells half the story. 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. Hes been one of the pillars of what we have built here as an organization." In 2008, he was New Orleans leading receiver with 79 catches for 928 yards and 10 touchdowns. While he was hurt for much of the 2009 season, he returned in time to help the Saints win their only championship. He made a difficult catch and dived for the pylon on a 2-point conversion that gave New Orleans a 24-17 lead over Indianapolis in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl. The Saints went on to win by two touchdowns after Tracy Porters late interception return for a score. Moore had his last 1,000-yard season in 2012, when he made 65 catches for 1,021 yards and six TDs. Last season, however, Moore began to lose playing time to rookie receiver Kenny Stills and finished with 37 catches for 457 yards and two TDs, his lowest output in four seasons. Moore was due $3.1 million in base salary in 2014, so releasing him provides New Orleans more flexibility under the salary cap as it seeks to re-sign star free-agent tight end Jimmy Graham to a long-term extension. 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Marie, Ont., gave Canada some breathing room, following his big fourth end by adding two more points in the fifth to go up 7-4. MONACO -- Canadian Milos Raonic defeated Spains Tommy Robredo 6-4, 6-3 on Thursday to reach the quarter-finals at the Monte Carlo Masters. The 23-year-old from Thornhill, Ont., will next take on Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka, who advanced on a walkover when Spanish opponent Nicolas Almagro retired before their match with a foot injury. Wawrinka, the third seed, has beaten the eighth-seeded Raonic in both of their previous meetings. "Ive struggled in the past against Stan but it will be quite different this time around," said Raonic. "Im doing a lot of things well and Im looking forward to that challenge." Raonic had seven aces in his third-round match and broke Robredos serve once per set while never facing a challenge on his own serve. The Canadian also beat Robredo in their previous meeting last spring in Barcelona. His next match marks a breakthrough as it will be Raonics first quarter-final appearance at a clay-court 1000 Series event. "This is a first, thats for sure," he said. "Its a result of a lot of the good things Im doing. But I can do better and Im looking forward to bringing that out in myself. "This is the closest Ive gotten to a big clay opportunity, so its definitely a positive." In second-round mens doubles play, Torontos Daniel Nestor and Serbian partner Nenad Zimonjic defeated the Polish duo of Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matowski 6-7(6), 7-6 (3), 10-7. Raonic claimed the opening set against Robredo with a break in the final game, smashing down an overhead winner on his second set-point opportunity. The Canadian jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second set when a Robredo return wide down the line. Raonic then stayed the course to serve out the victory, finishing in just over an hour. "Im very pleased with myself, I showed a lot of discipline," Raonic said. "I struggled in the beginning but was able to figure it all out towards the end of the set. I gave myself a lot of opportunities afterwards." Raonic credited his world-class serve with keeping him out of trouble. "Serving well was a big thing today," he said. "I was also moving well and able to dictate with my forehand." The victory boosted Raonics record to 10-3 on the season and has given him a boost of confidence on the slower surface. "Ive played a lot of the Spanish guys in practice matches," said Raonic, the former pupil of Spaniard Galo Blanco. "I definitely have more of an understanding of what I need to do and what I can expect from them as well." Also Thursday, defending champion Novak Djokovic raced into the quarter-finals by dispatching Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain 6-0, 6-1 in 47 minutes. Eight-time champion Rafael Nadal also had little trouble, beating Italian Andreas Sepppi 6-1, 6-3, while fourth-seeded Roger Federer shook off a slow start in a 6-4, 6-1 win against Czech player Lukas Rosol.dddddddddddd The second-seeded Djokovic won his second-round opener in 45 minutes and has yet to be tested this week. He next faces Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. The top-seeded Nadal has looked sloppy at times. "Lost only two games in the first two matches (here). Cant be better than this, for sure," Djokovic said. "I am confident on the court. Im coming off a great American hard-court season." Djokovic sealed the 22-minute first set with a crisp forehand. Carreno Busta received loud cheers, clenched his fists and grinned broadly when he won his only game for 3-1 in the second. Djokovic served out, tormenting him one last time with an exquisite drop shot. He is aiming for his fifth straight Masters win. He won at Indian Wells and Key Biscayne, dominating Nadal in the latter final to record his third straight win against him in straight sets. "Ive had more time comparing to last year to practice on the clay courts and to get my game to the level where I want it to be," Djokovic said. Nadal achieved his 300th win on clay in beating Seppi. He won this title for eight straight years until last year when he lost the final to Djokovic. "Today I played a little bit better than yesterday," Nadal said. "I was playing at a good level." He next faces sixth-seeded David Ferrer, who easily beat Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 6-4, 6-2, while Federer will face ninth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Nadal has a 21-5 career record against countryman Ferrer, winning 10 of the past 11 meetings. "David is a tough, tough player on any surface," Nadal said. "But here on clay, always a big challenge." Rosol, meanwhile, broke Federer in the third game and held for 3-1. "It was a bit rocky in the beginning," Federer said. He broke back with a stinging cross-court forehand at Rosols feet, and then broke him to love. He clinched the set when Rosols forehand sailed long. Federer has a 10-4 record against Tsonga, who beat him in the French Open quarter-finals last year and in the Wimbledon quarters in 2011. "Ive seen Jo play different kind of quality matches lately, so not quite sure hes going to play, how aggressive, how passive," Federer said. Tsonga won 5-7, 6-3, 6-0 against Fabio Fognini of Italy, who did his best to spoil the Frenchmans 29th birthday with his wild antics, including smashing rackets and shouting loudly. In the days only upset, Garcia-Lopez beat fifth-seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 4-6, 6-3, 6-1. The only other time Garcia-Lopez reached a Masters last eight was in Shanghai four years ago, when he lost to Djokovic, who leads 5-0 in their head-to-heads. ' ' '