In any case, defensive end Will Smith is due $9,750,000 for the 2012 season. In my view, he is simply not worth that much money and I don't know of any team in the league that would pay that much for him, given his age and wear and tear. He was somewhat effective last season and is still disruptive, but I don't think he's worth just shy of ten million dollars.
After following the off-season moves of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the success they've had getting under the cap by restructuring contracts, I am convinced many of the Saints' contracts need to be restructured as well. I have no idea why this isn't being done. Or maybe this is all being done behind the scenes, I'm just not sure.
Another player due a huge amount of money is Jonathan Vilma. Given his generous contract, he is due 6.6 million bucks in 2012. Once again, due to his age and the abuse his body has taken over the past several years, I don't see how he could be worth 6.6 million. Jo-Lonn Dunbar has been making close to league minimum and has been just as effective if not more so. Vilma's contract must be restructured to allow us to retain Nicks, Colston, and Meachem.
Other players who should be targets for contract restructuring are Sedrick Ellis ($6,257,000 in 2012), Jermon Bushrod ($6,750,000 in 2012), Lance Moore ($4,400,000), and Jabari Greer ($6,150,000). I realize these players are all very valuable, but restructuring the contract of, say, Jabari Greer, would allow the Saints to retain him with a more long-term arrangement. I'm fully aware that both Bushrod and Moore just inked these deals last season, but they're both entering their highest salaried years. A portion of each salary could be deferred to the 2013 season in order to make room for other talent.
As a Saints fan, I'm going to be rather irate if they let Colston walk for $7,000,000 a year and yet retain Will Smith, Jonathan Vilma, and Sedrick Ellis at their current salaries. I can't think of a player who has contributed more in terms of pure production than Colston. And btw, Colston already made about 4.7 million in 2011, so it's not like this is a colossal jump.
I also would love for the Saints to retain Robert Meachem with a multi-year deal, but it's going to be difficult to keep all these players on the same team. Difficult, unless Mickey Loomis can do some wheeling and dealing over the next few days.
Btw, here is a link to a site which has a list of players' salaries: http://www.spotrac.com/nfl/new-orleans-saints/jermon-bushrod/