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Saints Can Create More Salary Cap Space with Tough Decision on Marques Colston

The Saints have already begun the process of creating salary cap space for the free agency signing period but here are a few more moves they can make to give themselves more wiggle room, some more pleasant than others.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL salary cap is expected to rise to at least $155 million this year, which is great news for the Saints, who are obviously pressed right against it. The Saints have already started the process of creating some cap room by cutting Jahri Evans, David Hawthorne and Ramon Humber, and renegotiating with Dannell Ellerbe.

But they still have a few moves they can make to give themselves even more cushion for the free agency pushin'. Below are four contract moves Mickey Loomis could pull off.  There's no telling exactly how much money these moves combined could free up, but my safe guess would be anywhere between of $10 million to $15 million depending.

All salary figures referenced below come from the good people at Over the Cap.

Extend Max Unger

Unger is entering the final year of his contract with the Saints, which they inherited from Seattle when they traded for him. The Saints already restructured his contract in October to help make some cap room in 2015. But the center is only 29-years-old and barring serious injury or unforseen circumstance, he's positioned to be the center for this team for a good while. So the Saints could choose to extend his contract now, give the man some job security, and push some of that money into the future for a friendlier 2016 cap hit.

Extend Drew Brees

Our golden boy is set to make a whopping $30 million in 2016, the final year of his contract. This is what happens when you backload a gargantuan contract. He's 37 years old, but if the Saints legitimately think Brees can play another two years or so, they might consider extending his contract one final time and pushing that money just a little bit further into the future. Of all the moves listed here, this one could potentially free up the most money.

Restructure Thomas Morstead

Believe it or not, the Saints punter is one of ten highest paid players on the roster currently. He's scheduled to count $4.45 million against the cap this season and has another two years under contract beyond that. The Saints could potentially work a little restructure magic, convert some base salary to bonus money, and - poof! - a little extra cap space for the Saints.

Cut Marques Colston

I know this is the last thing Saints fans want to hear because we all want Colston to retire from the game in a Saints uniform and can't imagine him ever playing for another team. Sometimes these decisions can be really, really hard. But cutting Marques outright would immediately free up $3,200,000 in cap space. And let's face it, how much can we really expect from Colston next year and beyond?