Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
At about $17.5 million over the salary cap, the Saints are in for another busy offseason.
As of now, the salary cap for the 2013 NFL season looks to be around $121 million. According to ESPN's Pat Yasinskas, the Saints' current cap figure is about $138.5 million, so they will obviously need to cut some players and restructure some contracts. Let's take a look at some potential cap casualties.
On defense, the player that stands out the most is defensive end Will Smith. He carries a whopping $14.5 million dollar cap figure for 2013. Due to his age, he will most likely be released, or restructured at the very least. If he were released, only a little bit over $3 million dollars would be charged due to his signing bonus. So in the end, the Saints could save over $10 million by releasing him, which wouldn't be a bad move.
Next is linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who would carry a cap figure of $8.6 million dollars in 2013. Vilma seems to be even more expendable due to the exceptional play of Curtis Lofton. If Vilma was released, the Saints would be charged $2.6 million in signing bonuses, so a little over $6 million will be saved.
Roman Harper is scheduled to carry $7.1 million towards the cap in 2013. His contract would definitely have to be restructured at the bare minimum to allow him to stay on the roster because that figure is too high for him. If he were released, a little less than $2 million would be charged to the Saints, saving the Saints about $5 million.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Saints are not facing too many problems. The obvious one is quarterback Drew Brees. Now obviously the Saints will not release him, but restructuring his contract is a possibility. His $17.4 million cap figure is an extreme casualty, and if it was trimmed down by a few million, it would really help.
Not counting a restructured contract for Drew, the Saints could save around $25 million dollars towards the cap by releasing Smith, Vilma, Harper, and Henderson. That would leave the Saints $8 million under the likely $121 million cap.
There are a handful of other players that will affect the 2013 cap, but the players listed above are more noteworthy.
It's time to see what Mickey Loomis is all about because he has a tough task ahead of him. Getting the Saints below the cap number is first, and giving the team enough room to re-sign players such as Jermon Bushrod is next. I'm sure Spags would like to have a few more toys as well.