After restructuring the contract of Marshon Lattimore and signing their 2021 draft class, the New Orleans Saints should have a little bit of money left for the rest of the 2021 offseason.
Lattimore max restructure should’ve gotten Saints to ~$7.75M in 2021 cap space— Brad Spielberger (@PFF_Brad) June 8, 2021
Draft class then should take up about $2.48M
Saints should have some breathing room with a little over $5M in 2021 cap space now https://t.co/L8hIdVvgv2
What should the Saints do with the reported $5 million in remaining salary cap space? It’s hard to say what the Saints should do, but here are four things the Saints could do with their newly-found cap space.
1. Sign a veteran cornerback
Former Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick has visited the Saints, as the Saints still have a need for a veteran corner on the roster opposite the recently-restructured Marshon Lattimore. Despite drafting Paulson Adebo in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Saints could use a veteran like Kirkpatrick to allow Adebo time to get his NFL legs under him.
Whether Kirkpatrick or Richard Sherman, who the Saints have also expressed interest in, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Saints add some help in the secondary. Whether because Adebo will need time to learn, or the Saints want to keep Patrick Robinson in just a reserve role, or in case Marshon Lattimore is suspended to start the season, the Saints should look to add a veteran cornerback to their roster on a reasonable deal.
2. Add help to the wide receiver room
The Saints don’t have firepower at wide receiver beyond Michael Thomas. After losing Emmanuel Sanders as a cap casualty to the Buffalo Bills in free agency, the Saints could use a bona fide #2 wide receiver.
A player like Golden Tate would make a lot of sense here, as he’s a proven quality receiver with plenty of experience playing in the slot. ESPN recently predicted he would sign later in free agency one a one-year deal for only a little over $1 million, so the Saints should have enough cap space to sign a cornerback like Kirkpatrick and add help on the offensive side of the ball.
3. Add to the cap space
Extensions to players like Marshon Lattimore, Marcus Williams, Ryan Ramczyk, and even Terron Armstead could free up tens of millions of dollars in 2021 cap space if the deal is structured appropriately.
Extensions for these players - especially Marcus Williams - could happen any day now, so while the Saints might not be able to do much with “only” $5 million in cap space, they could theoretically do a lot more with something like $20+ million.
4. Save it
The Saints 2021 cap situation was pretty bleak, but the 2022 salary cap might present even more problems.
Saints have about $27.8M in 2022 cap space committed to players that aren't under contract for 2022— Brad Spielberger (@PFF_Brad) June 8, 2021
That's roughly 13.3% of the maximum $208.2M 2022 salary cap
The NFL allows teams to carry over unused salary cap space from the previous season (with the Saints carrying $4.1 million in unused salary cap from 2020 into this offseason. If the Saints add to their 2021 salary cap availability by extending players like Ramczyk and Lattimore, there’s no requirement the Saints spend all of that money in 2021. The smarter thing to do for the Saints might be to sit on those unused funds and carry them over in to 2022 to offset some of the dead cap the team will be carrying over from existing (or already released) players.