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Saints at Serious Financial Disadvantage in 27-22 Loss to Panthers

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The players who take up more than half of the Saints 2015 salary cap spending were unavailable to play against the Panthers.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier tonight I tweeted a depressing stat about the Saints' 27-22 loss to the Panthers Sunday. Really, a depressing stat about the current state of the Saints roster, salary cap, and management. I thought it was worth it's own post and not just a tweet/FanShot.

In short, the Saints used more than half of their 2015 salary cap on players who weren't even active for the teams Week 3 loss to the Panthers. Or, to put it another way, the Saints could use only half their total salary cap to field a team against the Panthers. That doesn't sound like a great position to be in, does it?

The official 2015 NFL salary cap number is $143.28 million. Here are the startling figures I discovered...

Total salary of injured players who did not play vs. Panthers: $45,300,000

Total salary of players no longer on the Saints roster (dead money): $30,897,305

Total cost of players who did not play vs. Panthers: $76,197,305

Percentage of total 2015 salary cap spent on players who did not play vs. Panthers: 53.2%

This is a fluctuating figure based on the health of the players still on the roster, of course. As soon as guys like Jairus Byrd, Keenan Lewis, and Jahri Evans get healthy, the numbers don't look so bleak. Obviously, Drew Brees' salary is a large part of these numbers so when he returns the figures change dramatically. But even in that case, the Saints still could have anywhere around 33% of their total cap spending not on the football field.

Injuries are one thing. They can't be avoided and they're part of the game. But the dead money figure is maddening to fans. In fact, I believe they have more dead money on the books than any other team in the NFL. That's the price you've just got to pay if you want to clean house in the offseason - the result of poor drafting and foolish contracts.

In case you're curious to know how I arrived at these figures, below is a breakdown. These salary figures come courtesy of Over the Cap.

Salary of players currently on the roster who were injured vs. Panthers:

Drew Brees $26,400,000
Jahri Evans $7,000,000
Jairus Byrd $5,500,000
Keenan Lewis $4,500,000
Dannell Ellerbe $1,900,000
Total $45,300,000

Players no longer on the roster but counting against the salary cap (dead money):

Jimmy Graham $9,000,000
Ben Grubbs $6,000,000
Junior Galette $5,450,000
Curtis Lofton $5,000,000
Brodrick Bunkley $1,912,500
Pierre Thomas $830,000
Stanley Jean-Baptiste $667,374
Parys Haralson $350,000
Khairi Fortt $309,420
Erik Lorig $300,000
Champ Bailey $250,000
Nick Toon $140,727
Ronald Powell $140,156
Kenny Stills $97,226
Tavon Rooks $73,074
Mike Brewster $61,412
Bryce Harris $60,000
Corey White $44,125
Tim Hightower $34,412
Seantavius Jones $31,400
Toben Opurum $25,588
Sean Hickey $15,833
Shayne Graham $10,000
Markus Pierce-Brewster $7,000
Cameron Brate $6,600
Sean Hickey $6,600
R.J. Harris $6,600
Blake Annen $6,600
Matt Armstrong $5,000
Marcus Ball $4,000
Ty Nsekhe $3,750
Nic Jacobs $3,334
George Uko $3,334
Logan Kilgore $3,334
Chidera Uzo-Diribe $3,334
Lawrence Virgil $3,334
Timothy Flanders $3,334
Ty Zimmerman $3,000
Derrius Brooks $3,000
Pierre Warren $2,667
Je’Ron Hamm $2,667
Derek Dimke $2,500
Glenn Foster $2,334
Cyril Lemon $2,000
Harold Spears $1,800
Ashaad Mabry $1,800
R.J. Harris $1,800
Rod Sweeting $1,668
Kevin Reddick $1,668
Spencer Hadley $1,000
TOTAL $30,897,305