NFL Free Agency 2013: Salary Cap Space at a Premium for Saints

John David Mercer-US PRESSWIRE

The Saints will surely have to make some adjustments now if they want to continue signing players in free agency.

The New Orleans Saints have done fairly well in free agency so far considering the limited salary cap space they had available, which was nonexistent when they started earlier this month. In the past few weeks they have been able to sign cornerback Keenan Lewis and linebacker Victor Butler to help shore up their defensive woes that plagued them last season.

There are still some areas of need the Saints could take care of, but they will have some decisions to make if they want to take care of those needs in free agency.

Free agent cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha is reportedly still on the fence about whether he wants to sign with the Saints or the San Francisco 49ers, so he is still a possibility. The left tackle position could also use some depth with a veteran presence. Bryant McKinnie is still floating out there for the club to snatch up as well.

Prior to the two-year deal with Butler that was announced Thursday, the Saints were reportedly at $3.3 million in salary cap space.

The Saints could clear even more space by restructuring safety Roman Harper's contract that surprisingly hasn't been touched at all. Harper's restructure could possibly clear enough to allow the Saints to sign both free agents if they wanted to.

There are other moves the team could make to clear cap space but Harper's contract is third on the Saints as far as salary cap hits are concerned at $7.1 million against it.

Drew Brees and Will Smith are first and second respectively with Brees counting $17.4 million against the salary cap and Smith at $8.5 million. Smith has already restructured his contract just a few weeks ago.

Don't expect Brees to be touched even though a restructure would clear a big chunk of space. Yes, it would be doable but it would put the Saints behind the salary cap eight ball for years to come.

There are other players who could be nickel and dimed to squeeze out a few more dollars but if that were likely to happen it would have already.

Regardless, if the Saints want to make a few more plays in free agency they will need to make a few on some of their own player contracts to clear up some space and not leave themselves in a pinch for next year. Jimmy Graham anyone?

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