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NFL 2015 Salary Cap: New Orleans Saints are 22 Million Dollars Overspent

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The 2015 NFL salary cap is confirmed at $143.28 million. Saints GM Mickey Loomis has plenty of work ahead of him if he wants to squeeze the franchise under the cap and still field a competitive team.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The 2015 NFL salary cap is confirmed at $143.28 million

Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each club has the option to carry over unused cap space from the prior League Year.  The Saints have a carryover of $1,710,130 from 2014, plus an adjustment of $102,300, leaving the club with an overall adjusted team salary cap of $145,092,430 for 2015.

With a projected burden of roughly $167 million sitting on the books, including about $695,000 in "dead money," the New Orleans Saints are currently close to $22 million over the cap.  GM Mickey Loomis only has about a week -- until March 10 -- to squeeze the team under the cap, though he can accomplish this feat easily enough by converting roster bonuses to signing bonuses.

Once Loomis waves his hand and makes the Saints cap-legal for the start of the new year, there will still remain a number of difficult decisions to be made, however.  The club still needs money to sign draft picks and free agents, and the initial quick fix won't even free up enough cap space for the draft.  So the team will need to create significantly more cap space.  Players will be need to be released.  Veterans will be asked to restructure contracts or receive their walking papers.

The Saints have been in this situation before, and surprised everyone.  Last year, when New Orleans was thought to be in salary cap hell, the team managed to sign one of the league's top free agents, Jairus Byrd, to a hefty contract.  Will the front office continue to mortgage the team's future against uncertain cap projections in hopes of winning another championship in the short term? Or does Mickey think it's time to start leveling things out before the club is in an inescapable bind? Does Sean Payton believe the team's current veterans are able to deliver a championship performance, or is it time to clean house a bit and look towards younger blood?

Saints fans should get most of their answers to these questions between March 10 and the start of the 2015 NFL Draft at the end of April.

For those who are interested, below is every team’s adjusted salary cap position, given its carryover amount and other adjustments from the 2014 season:

Team Carryover Adjustments 2015 Salary Cap 2015 Adjusted Team Salary Cap
Arizona Cardinals $4,256,919 $978,947 $143,280,000 $148,515,866
Atlanta Falcons $2,845,290 $123,525 $143,280,000 $146,248,815
Baltimore Ravens $5,791,927 ($3,940,800) $143,280,000 $145,131,127
Buffalo Bills $2,647,907 ($145,977) $143,280,000 $145,781,930
Carolina Panthers $4,939,773 $1,151,864 $143,280,000 $149,371,637
Chicago Bears $1,545,934 $342,500 $143,280,000 $145,168,434
Cincinnati Bengals $8,697,310 $153,125 $143,280,000 $152,130,435
Cleveland Browns $18,908,285 ($420,885) $143,280,000 $161,767,400
Dallas Cowboys $3,260,740 $2,037,573 $143,280,000 $148,578,313
Denver Broncos $5,870,000 $916,024 $143,280,000 $150,066,024
Detroit Lions $939,171 $98,820 $143,280,000 $144,317,991
Green Bay Packers $7,791,106 $400,000 $143,280,000 $151,471,106
Houston Texans $966,613 $1,779,133 $143,280,000 $146,025,746
Indianapolis Colts $7,699,867 $1,443,525 $143,280,000 $152,423,392
Jacksonville Jaguars $21,768,205 $3,437,902 $143,280,000 $168,486,107
Kansas City Chiefs $2,246,790 $617,410 $143,280,000 $146,144,200
Miami Dolphins $7,770,411 $1,876,526 $143,280,000 $152,926,937
Minnesota Vikings $5,723,960 $624,000 $143,280,000 $149,627,960
New England Patriots $6,442,054 ($5,143,970) $143,280,000 $144,578,084
New Orleans Saints $1,710,130 $102,300 $143,280,000 $145,092,430
New York Giants $151,000 ($19,117) $143,280,000 $143,411,883
New York Jets $12,619,394 $250,000 $143,280,000 $156,149,394
Oakland Raiders $7,400,000 $1,192,756 $143,280,000 $151,872,756
Philadelphia Eagles $15,715,700 $876,678 $143,280,000 $159,872,378
Pittsburgh Steelers $778,469 $0 $143,280,000 $144,058,469
San Diego Chargers $1,500,000 ($1,807,388) $143,280,000 $142,972,612
San Francisco 49ers $4,206,936 $2,369,044 $143,280,000 $149,855,980
Seattle Seahawks $4,825,000 $152,738 $143,280,000 $148,257,738
St. Louis Rams $0 $1,393,387 $143,280,000 $144,673,387
Tampa Bay Buccaneers $1,063,033 $566,856 $143,280,000 $144,909,889
Tennessee Titans $11,254,828 ($181,250) $143,280,000 $154,353,578
Washington Redskins $108,621 $3,203,124 $143,280,000 $146,591,745

The new league year opens at 4 p.m. ET (3 p.m. Central) on March 10th, when unrestricted free agents can sign with any team.  Senio Kelemete is the only exclusive rights free agent from the 2014 squad, and the team has chosen to pick up the option on his contract.  Here’s a list of the Saints' unrestricted and restricted free agents for the 2015 offseason:

Unrestricted

Brandon Deaderick DL
Moise Fokou LB
Jonathan Goodwin C
Shayne Graham  K Signed Feb 12th:  1 year, $970,000
Parys Haralson LB Signed Feb 12th:  1 year, $870,000
Ramon Humber LB
Mark Ingram RB
Luke McCown QB Signed Feb 5th: 1 year, $970,000
Robert Meachem WR
Patrick Robinson CB
Jamarca Sanford S

Restricted

Travaris Cadet RB
Bryce Harris OT
Tyrunn Walker DL

Exclusive Rights

Senio Kelemete G Contract Extension Announced Feb 9th:  1 year, $585,000