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Saints Roster Cuts Looming

Get your popcorn ready, Saints fans, because big changes to the roster are coming soon and it's likely to get ugly.

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Roster cuts are beginning to take place across the NFL as some teams attempt to get their rosters under the salary cap before the new league year begins on March 12 and others position themselves for free agency.

And the Saints will soon be in that number. Because at $138.5 million, the Saints have the NFL's second-highest amount committed toward the 2013 cap, behind only the Jets at $142 million.

[collective facepalm]

With the 2013 cap ceiling set at $121 million that means the Saints need to shave off approximately $17.5 million in player salaries, give or take a couple million. Not the ideal situation your want your football team to be in during the off-season.

So we can expect to see some tough decisions being made soon, and the players not living up to their hefty contracts will be in the spotlight.

Players like Jonathan Vilma and Will Smith, who are set to count for $8.6 million and $14.5 million respectively against the 2013 cap. That's just too much money for either of these guys, which means they're either going to be let go or asked to restructure. Doing so will instantaneously get the Saints significantly closer to where they need to be in the way of cap space.

Here are a few other players who could potentially become cap casualties this off-season, some more likely than others.

S Roman Harper: $7.1 million 2013 cap figure

LB David Hawthorne: $4.8 million 2013 cap figure

DT Brodrick Bunkley: $4.7 million 2013 cap figure

S Malcolm Jenkins: $2.4 million 2013 cap figure

CB Patrick Robinson: $2.3 million 2013 cap figure

There are also a couple of players who could seriously help the Saints financially if they agreed to re-structure their contacts.

CB Jabari Greer: $5.4 million 2013 cap figure

G Ben Grubbs: $7.3 million 2013 cap figure

So get your popcorn ready, Saints fans, because big changes to the roster are coming soon, whether you like it or not. And with so much money needed to be freed up to get under the 2013 salary cap, it's going to get ugly.