So the Saints & Mickey Loomis have started warming up the calculators and begun the process of getting the team under the 2013 Salary CAP (which has now been reported as being $123m). Here is a recap of what has happened this past month:
The Saints have resigned QB Luke McCown to a 1 yr deal. His last 2 previous contracts were for $825k, so I will presume he returns for roughly the same amount.
The Saints also announced they have signed FA’s Kenyon Coleman (DE) & Victor Butler (OLB), both from Dallas. Terms of these deals have yet to be announced, but Coleman earned $2.245m last year while Butler was paid $565k in the final year of his rookie contract. Would figure both of these guys, total, to count somewhere in the neighborhood of $2-2.5m against the Saints CAP. Both players come relatively cheap, are low risk/high reward & they know RR’s system. Neither of them will likely be “impact players”, but they should contribute while giving us both depth & experience.
Saints signed TE Ben Watson to a 3yr / $4.95m deal with a 2013 CAP hit of $1.65m.
Saints signed CB Keenan Lewis to a 5yr / $26.3m contract with a 2013 CAP hit of $2.25m.
Saints released Will Herring, freeing up $1.6m in CAP space (while eating $335k in “dead money”). Then less than 10 days later, resigned him for an undisclosed 1 yr deal. He was slated to make $1.9m this year prior to his release. Figure the Saints brought him back for a little less than half that amount – $850k.
Saints resigned FA’s Courtney Roby & Ramon Humber for 2013 CAP hit’s of $620k & $555k respectively.
Saints restructured Brodrick Bunkley’s contract turning his 2013 CAP number from $4.7m to $2.48m – frees up almost $2m in CAP space.
Saints signed RFA Junior Galette to a 3 yr deal. No terms as of yet, but his 2012 salary was just under $500k. I am going to consider him as having a $800k 2013 CAP hit under the belief that Loomis gave him a decent raise but kept his 2013 CAP number friendly to the Saints, thus under his $2m tender he could have gotten. UPDATE – nailed it! Galette’s 2013 CAP hit IS $800k.
Saints signed Justin Drescher to a new deal with a 2013 CAP hit of $760k.
Saints gave Brian DLP & Chris Ivory 2nd round tenders with a cost of $2.023m each. I am confident that DLP will be signed to a similar deal as Galette. Ivory on the other hand, I’m not so sure about. The Saints want to keep him & $2m is not a bad price for him, but I also think they would be perfectly fine getting a 2nd round pick & letting him walk – we’ll see.
The Saints have restructured the following players, changing base salaries into guaranteed bonuses –
Jahari Evans – $3m savings
Marcus Colston – $2.1m savings
Ben Grubbs – $3m savings
David Hawthorne – $2m savings
Saints resigned free agents Rafeal Bush (S), Michael Higgins (TE) and Eric Olsen (OG). The “net” CAP hit for these 3 players is about $120k added to the Saints CAP.
The Saints have also announced they have restructured Curtis Lofton’s (LB) contract, turning his $5m roster bonus into a signing bonus, thus deferring that over the life of the contract and freeing up $4m in CAP space.
As of today:
The Saints have a total of 65 players under contract with 2 others being issued tenders. The TOP 51 players’ salaries count against the CAP.
2013 salary CAP is $123m plus the Saints have an additional $2.7m to roll over from last year ($125.7m total).
The Saints have a total of $576,763 in “dead money” to pay out. Brings their total CAP number to $125,123,237.
The Top 51 reported salaries total $121,932,319 (or $3,190,918 UNDER the CAP). This does NOT include the CAP figures for McCown, Coleman, Butler or Herring. The total expected CAP hit for those 4 players comes to roughly $3.5m (but you subtract the bottom 4 players from the CAP list – Jed Collins, Marcel Jones, Travaris Cadet & Bryce Harris – which would be $1,153,917).
UPDATE – 4/2/1230CST – Reports are that Butler’s deal will have a $1.125m CAP number for 2013, so it will have a $700k impact on the Saints CAP. Pretty much as previously expected.
Saints should be right at $124,278,402 or $844,835 UNDER the CAP.
Other possible moves:
Release – Roman Harper. Fans all across NOLA & the Who Dat Nation have been scratching their heads as to WHY nothing has been mentioned regarding Roman Harper & his ridiculous contract. Harper is slated to count $7.1m against the CAP this year (& $7.9m NEXT year). The only logical conclusion I can come to about him is up until now, there has been no reason TO do anything with him. Until the Saints are forced to make more room under the CAP, we are better off keeping him than searching for a new Safety. Cutting him today would only result in a net gain of $600k against the CAP ($6.1m in “dead money”; $1m savings minus the next highest paid player moving to #51 on the CAP list – $400k salary). Now, wait until after June 1st to cut him & thats a different story. Cut him then & the Saints will net over $3.5m in savings this year & $4m in 2014. Have a feeling Harper is going to be pushed down the same road as Will Smith & Jonathan Vilma – take a substantial pay cut or be released, but after June 1st when your few possible suitors will no longer be interested…. time will tell.
Restructure/release – Malcom Jenkins (released would save $2.2m; UFA next year so if the Saints decide to keep him, they could give him an extension & free up the same amount of money). Pierre Thomas (release would save $2.5m but they could work out a restructure which could free up half of that – not a likely possibility).
Restructure – Drew Brees, which could free up a few million at the cost of further increasing his future CAP hits.
Now let’s look at what they need to spend.
Jimmy Graham is due for a contract extension and will figure to be pretty significant. Gronkowski is getting close to $7m per year, so I would expect Jimmy’s to be close to that. Given Loomis’ creativity, I would think his first year would hit us for around $4m.
UPDATE – Loomis has no need to give Graham an extension, but the precedent was set previously a few years ago with Colston, so if he CAN do it, I expect it to get done. This will come down to the Saints getting all of the FA’s they want and THEN seeing what money is left over.
Barring any sort of Draft Day trade(s), the Saints will only have 2 picks which will impact their Salary CAP. Their 1st rounder (15th overall) & their 3rd rounder (75th overall). Last year, those 2 draft pick selections signed deals which paid them $1.8m & $565k respectively. Figure the Saints will need $2.5m set aside for them (minus $1,032,456 for the lowest 2 players on the CAP list, Corey White & Andrew Tiller), so Mickey still needs to come up with around $1.5m to sign our first 2 draft picks.
So where are we at?
Loomis & the Saints have only a couple rabbits left in the hat in order to free up enough money for our draft picks, but that is about it. It is looking like they will not be bringing in a veteran FA LT nor will they be shelling out the money for Graham this year. That being said, Mickey has surprised us all before, so anything is possible.
Loomis is taking big strides to get us where we need to be, but it is at the expense of 2014 & 2015. Hopefully the new TV revenue money will come in to save the day or all this “Robbing Peter to pay Paul” stuff is going to kill us. See you all next week for the latest round-up.