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New Orleans Saints Salary Cap Situation 2014

The Saints will definitely be over the projected NFL salary cap for the 2014 season but can easily get themselves where they need to be.

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Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

The NFL salary cap is always an interesting, mysterious topic that draws a lot of attention in the offseason, especially around the time of free agency, which is to begin on March 11, 2014. While a player's cap figure towards the overall team cap might come across as the amount of money a player receives per year, it actually is not. In fact, the cap figure largely depends on how the contract is spread through a couple different factors such as signing bonuses, cash incentives, and guaranteed money. Year by year the cap figure changes depending on how the money fluctuates. Contract extensions are often used to ease up the tension immediately, but the back end of the contract will be heavy.

The predicted salary cap for the 2014 season is $126.3 million per team. According to Over the Cap, a website that specializes in salaries in sports, the Saints have more than $139 million committed towards the 2014 cap, putting them about $12 million over. It very well could be higher depending on how dead money is resolved in the offseason. While this may seem like cause for concern, this can be taken care of with just a few transactions if the Saints are willing to do so. So without further adieu, let's dive into some of the figures.

Drew Brees $18,400,000 John Jenkins $656,890
Will Smith $13,902,451 Corey White $614,125
Jahri Evans $11,000,000 Travaris Cadet $571,667
Jabari Greer $5,825,000 Tyrunn Walker $571,100
Lance Moore $5,068,750 Kenny Stills $543,613
Marques Colston $8,300,000 Glenn Foster $497,333
Ben Grubbs $9,100,000 Rod Sweeting $496,666
Darren Sproles $4,250,000 Kevin Reddick $496,666
Roman Harper $5,870,000 Tim Lelito $496,666
Curtis Lofton $5,200,000 Khiry Robinson $495,333
Brodrick Bunkley $6,112,500 Josh Hill $495,000
David Hawthorne $3,510,000 Chris Chamberlain $400,000
Pierre Thomas $2,900,000 Chris Givens $570,834
Keenan Lewis $4,550,000 Kyle Knox $420,000
Patrick Robinson $2,394,333 Adrian Davis $423,334
Cam Jordan $2,459,991 Ryan Griffin $495,000
Mark Ingram $2,359,875 Andrew Tiller $56,000
Thomas Morstead $3,235,000 Rufus Johnson $78,981
Kenny Vaccaro $2,141,980 Terrance Frederick $420,000
Junior Galette $2,900,000 Marcel Jones $24,300
Ben Watson $1,700,000 Ty Nsekhe $495,000
Victor Butler $1,875,000 Derek Dimke $420,000
Justin Drescher $860,000 Derrius Brooks $420,000
Akiem Hicks $718,225 Martez Wilson $164,081
Nick Toon $671,903
Terron Armstead $679,359

Immediately, the glaring issues that you probably will have with this list come from Will Smith, Lance Moore, Roman Harper, Marques Colston, and Mark Ingram. All five of these players have done a lot for the Saints' team and organization, but their cap figure to me is well over their worth, especially Smith and Harper. To alleviate some of the cap pressure, the Saints may choose to cut, trade, or restructure these players. The most likely to be cut in my opinion would be either Smith, Harper, or Ingram. Several players such as Pierre Thomas, David Hawthorne, Nick Toon, and Patrick Robinson are toss-ups and could get cut just as easily as remaining on the team.

Another dicey situation is the contract of Drew Brees. Because he was signed to an extension a couple of years ago, he is entering the more expensive years of his contract. His $18.4 million cap figure is extremely steep and it only gets worse from here on out. Drew reportedly has stated that if he is approached about making his contract more team friendly, he will do so. There is a good chance of this happening, as it would create a good deal of cap space for the Saints to either resign current players or target free agents.

As I said earlier, the Saints' rough-looking cap situation could be flipped fairly easily if Loomis makes a couple of transactions. The quickest way would probably be to cut some of the overpaid and underused players outright, but that is easier said than done. It is important that Loomis divides the team's money evenly because this offseason will likely define the fiscal state of the team for the next five years.