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Breaking Down the Latest Saints Roster Moves and The Cap

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After another wild day for the Saints, it appears the team has more cap issues to deal with.

Wait! "You A'int Seen Nothing Yet"
Wait! "You A'int Seen Nothing Yet"
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Friday was by far the wildest free agency day in the Sean Payton/Mickey Loomis era. We must start off with the signing of CB Brandon Browner, who we signed the day before. Brandon' s deal is as follows:

Brandon Browner signed a 3 year / $15,000,000 contract with the New Orleans Saints, including a $3,900,000 signing bonus, $7,750,000 guaranteed, and an annual average salary of $5,000,000.

CONTRACT:3 yr(s) / $15,000,000 SIGNING BONUS$3,900,000 AVERAGE SALARY$5,000,000 GUARANTEED:$7,750,000 FREE AGENT:2018 / UFA
Year Base Salary Signing Bonus Roster Bonus Cap Hit Dead Cap
2015 Contract details by year $1,100,000 $1,300,000 - $2,400,000 $7,750,000
2016 Contract details by year $2,750,000 $1,300,000 $2,250,000 $6,300,000 $5,350,000
2017 Contract details by year $2,750,000 $1,300,000 $2,250,000 $6,300,000 $1,300,000
2018 Free Agent Year UFA
Contract Notes:
  • $7.75M guaranteed (Signing Bonus + 2015-16 base)
  • 2016-17 Roster Bonus: $750,000 (3rd league day)
  • 2016-17 Per Game Active: $46,875
  • 2016-17 Per Game 53-Man Roster: $46,875
  • Pro Bowl: $125,000
  • Playing Time Incentives: $375,000

So the Saints cap hit for Brandon Browner for 2015 is $2.4 mil.

We also signed Ramon Humber to a $2.085 mil deal on March 12th.

Ramon Humber signed a 2 year / $2,085,000 contract with the New Orleans Saints, including a $334,000 signing bonus, $334,000 guaranteed, and an annual average salary of $1,042,500.

CONTRACT:2 yr(s) / $2,085,000 SIGNING BONUS$334,000 AVERAGE SALARY$1,042,500 GUARANTEED:$334,000 FREE AGENT:2017 / UFA
Year Base Salary Signing Bonus Cap Hit Dead Cap
2015 Contract details by year $850,000 $167,000 $1,017,000 $334,000
2016 Contract details by year $901,000 $167,000 $1,068,000 $167,000
2017 Free Agent Year UFA
Contract Notes:
  • Escalator playing time: $965,000

We traded Ben Grubbs to the Chiefs for a 5th round pick clearing off his 2015 and 2016 base salaries leaving a one time cap hit of $6 mil on the books for 2015. Ben's 2015 base salary was $6.6 mil for 2015. Ben Grubbs was asked by the team to take a pay cut and refused so was traded.

Starting the flurry of activity on Friday was the surprising trade of Kenny Stills to the Dolphins for LBer Dannell Ellerbe and a 3rd round pick in the 2015 draft. This was surprising for several reasons. One being that Stills was a productive member of the receiving corps, and he was very cheap. Kenny's contract through 2016 only cost $1.26 mil. For 2015 Stills leaves only his signing bonus of $97,226 on the books.

Ellerbe on the other hand could be coming with a hefty price tag. I say could be because it was said that he had to agree to a pay cut for the deal to be done.

Without a restructure of Ellerbe's contract the Saints would be around $4 mil over the cap and we all know the team has to remain under the cap with all transactions. Thus the next move helped clear some more space.

Corey White was released saving a little over $1.5 mil in cap and after his disastrous 2014 season came as no surprise.

Of further cap significance was the reported signing of C. J. Spiller.

Spiller's deal is reported to be a 4 year deal worth $18 mil. Includes a $5 mil signing bonus with $9 mil of that guaranteed. That averages out to $4.5 mil a year. His cap hit for 2015 is likely to be much smaller pushing his cap hit down the road. He also carried a release clause for the fourth year based on performance. By my best calculations, his cap hit for 2015 would be around $3.5 mil for 2015. This transaction has not yet been reported to the NFL or the NFLPA, so this allows the Saints to make more roster moves before Monday. Stay tuned for what I would expect to be another active 2 days.

Spiller will undoubtedly play the role left vacant with the release of fan favorite Pierre Thomas. The biggest surprise here is that his contract is for a higher cost than Mark Ingram.

Here is a review of Mark's contract:

Mark Ingram signed a 4 year / $16,000,000 contract with the New Orleans Saints, including a $3,600,000 signing bonus, $7,600,000 guaranteed, and an annual average salary of $4,000,000.

CONTRACT:4 yr(s) / $16,000,000 SIGNING BONUS$3,600,000 AVERAGE SALARY$4,000,000 GUARANTEED:$7,600,000 FREE AGENT:2019 / UFA
Year Base Salary Signing Bonus Roster Bonus Workout Bonus Cap Hit Dead Cap
2015 Contract details by year $1,000,000 $900,000 - $100,000 $2,000,000 $7,600,000
2016 Contract details by year $3,000,000 $900,000 - $100,000 $4,000,000 $5,700,000
2017 Contract details by year $3,000,000 $900,000 $500,000 $100,000 $4,500,000 $1,800,000
2018 Contract details by year $4,000,000 $900,000 $500,000 $100,000 $5,500,000 $900,000
2019 Free Agent Year UFA
Contract Notes:
  • $7.6M guaranteed (Signing Bonus + 2015-16 base salaries)
  • 2017-18 Roster Bonus: $500,000
  • Workout Bonus: $100,000
  • 2018 Voids if he makes the pro bowl or all-pro team in any prior season
  • 2016 Salary escalator (rushing yards): $200,000
  • 2017 Salary escalator (rushing yards): $400,000

Prime candidate for a pay cut would be guard Jahri Evans. Jahri's base salary for 2015 is $6.8 mi and his total cap hit is $11 mil. The team was reported earlier to have spoken with Evans wishing to restructure his contract or they would be forced to release him. From  his twitter account it appears Evans has been on vacation in Rome and the Holy City, (note: correction here thanks to Drunkwino), but I'm sure his agent has been in contact with the team.

Stay tuned, I'll update the cap figures as they become available.

One further significant factor yet to be mentioned is the rookie cap pool. With all the extra draft picks the team has acquired this figure has risen as well. From roughly $5.5 mil to begin with it has gone up to be about  $7,087,403.

We now have 9 picks and can view them in Dave's post, Updated Saints NFL Draft 2015 Picks.

Also you might might to wish to visit the Falcoholic's post, Considering the New Orleans Saints offseason to view the enemies view on all this.

Our current cap picture as per Spotrac, which doesn't reflect the unknowns like the Ellerbe contract restructure nor the 2015 cap liability for C. J. Spiller.

2015 Cap Totals

CAP TYPE BASE SALARY SIGNING BONUS ROSTER BONUS OPTION BONUS WORKOUT BONUS RESTRUC. BONUS INCENTIVES CAP TOTAL
2015 NFL Salary Cap $143,280,000
2014 Rollover Cap $1,710,130
Adjustment $102,300
Adjusted Salary Cap $145,092,430
All Active Contracts $93,536,664 $26,528,459 $4,315,000 $750,000 $1,507,500 $8,712,500 - $133,815,123
Top 51 Contracts $87,431,664 $26,522,959 $4,315,000 $750,000 $1,507,500 $8,712,500 - $127,710,123
Draft Pool - - - - - - - $7,087,403
Dead Money - $16,646,003 - $5,000,000 - - - $21,646,003
Total (w/All Active) $93,536,664 $43,174,462 $4,315,000 $5,750,000 $1,507,500 $8,712,500 - $155,461,126
Total (w/Top 51) $87,431,664 $43,168,962 $4,315,000 $5,750,000 $1,507,500 $8,712,500 - $149,356,126
Cap Space (w/Top 51 & Projected Draft Pool) $-11,351,099
Cap Space (w/Top 51) $-4,263,696

Also let me mention this fact. With all the moves thus far, the Saints have about $34 mil in cap space for 2016. This leads to speculation of what the team is looking to do next year. I'll just throw this out there. Drew Brees' final cap year hit if released in 2016 would only be $7.5 mil.