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After restructuring Demario Davis and Taysom Hill, the Saints are closer to salary cap compliance, according to ESPN's Field Yates. This will free up more room for them in 2022 and beyond for creative projects, she added.
Hill has been New Orleans' go-to quarterback this season, running for 575 yards and scoring seven touchdowns while catching nine passes for 77 yards and throwing for 240 yards in 16 games.
On Saturday, New Orleans released over $13 million in cap space by restructuring two contracts. Davis and Hill's salaries were converted into signing bonuses, reducing their cap hit by approximately $1.8 million according to Over the Cap's calculations.
The Saints now have an ample amount of cap room to work with as they continue to build a roster that will be eligible for free agency in March. While they remain over the salary cap by approximately $31 million, with some luck and strategic maneuvering, they should be able to come under it.
It is likely the Saints will make additional moves this offseason to save money, particularly with Khai Harley designing contracts with various features built-in years ahead of time. Furthermore, some of their cap room could be utilized to acquire a potential franchise quarterback; Deshaun Watson reportedly being one of the top candidates.
Though the Saints have done an admirable job of recruiting quality players in recent years, they need to do more to guarantee they can keep them long term. The top players typically sign multi-year deals and don't come cheaply.
They must ensure the money invested in them is sufficient to give them a chance at competing for years to come, and to afford to bring in players at high salaries when possible. That is why the team has made efforts to restructure contracts with several players who may not have been on their radar prior to the start of the offseason.
The Saints recently restructured the contracts of linebacker Demario Davis and tight end Taysom Hill, freeing $13.4 million in cap space for them to use as they please. Both Davis and Hill saw significant playing time during 2022 season, demonstrating their durability and productivity despite their age. Therefore, these players will remain important assets as the Saints search for a new franchise quarterback and plan ahead for the future.
In an effort to remain salary cap compliant before Wednesday's deadline, the Saints have restructured two contracts and released one player. Field Yates of ESPN reports that linebacker Demario Davis and tight end Taysom Hill have both agreed to restructure their contracts in an effort to free up cap space.
Restructuring Davis' contract will enable the Saints to convert $7.09 million of base salary into a signing bonus, freeing up $5.67 million in cap space on his deal - giving them an overall total of $13.07 million with which to restructure deals with other players.
Impact The move is likely to provide the Saints with a super-utility quarterback who can play everywhere. While Hill hasn't seen much action this season, he rushed for 575 yards on 96 carries last season while also catching nine passes and throwing for 240 yards. Hill could potentially be selected in the 2020 NFL Draft, giving New Orleans another key offensive option moving forward.
Though this move may not be the top priority at present, the Saints should at least take into account their current salary cap situation. With many young and talented players on their roster but some key players still under contract or in negotiations, the team needs to free up as much salary cap space as possible.
If the Saints can't do this, they will need to make other decisions that could prove costly in the long run. For instance, there is a lot of dead money in their system from players like quarterback Drew Brees, running back Alvin Kamara, wide receiver Cameron Jordan and linebacker Marcus Williams that won't help them reach their long term objectives.
Hill, Davis and Jordan's restructures should help the Saints stay under the salary cap for 2021; however, other players with contracts that will be paid out next year still need to be released or restructured before Wednesday's deadline. Some younger defensive tackles like Shy Tuttle, Ryan Glasgow and Malcolm Roach have deals which are unlikely to be extended at this time; thus the Saints remain several million dollars over their 2021 cap for 2022.
To save cap space, the Saints are renegotiating the contracts of defensive end Cameron Jordan and linebacker Demario Davis. According to Field Yates of ESPN, these moves will free up $13.4 million in cap room.
Restructuring Jordan's contract will enable the Saints to spread out the remaining $12.7 million of his salary over three void years, reducing his cap charge from $39 million to just $18.9 million - a dramatic reduction from his prior base salary of $39 million.
The Saints will save $7.6 million in cap space for 2020, but it could result in additional dead money down the line if they don't sign him to an extension in 2024.
Last season, Jordan was an integral part of the Saints' defensive line, leading the team with 48 pressures and 12.5 sacks. He has 107 sacks overall in his career and is considered an elite interior linebacker.
Kpassagnon will have a cap number of $3,250,000 in 2022. Last season he played in just eight games but recorded 14 pressures and four sacks.
Kpassagnon is a highly-coveted defensive end with plenty of potential, but his contract has become too costly to sustain. The Saints likely won't give him another multi-year deal, so they could instead consider restructuring instead.
Recently, the Saints have restructured several deals to push significant cap charges into the future. In addition to Jordan and Kpassagnon, CB Marshon Lattimore and DE Marcus Davenport also cut their contracts in order to reduce their cap numbers.
With a new league year starting soon, the Saints are still striving to get under the salary cap. While some simple restructures have helped them close the gap, it's still not quite enough.
The Saints are considering restructuring some other deals, including cornerback Marshon Lattimore and tackle Ryan Ramczyk. But they must proceed with caution as well.
The Saints are considering restructuring wide receiver Russell Gage and edge defender Shaquil Barrett's contracts. However, they might want to delay these cap hits until after two players turn 30 and come off injuries.
This offseason, the New Orleans Saints have created significant cap space by restructuring the contracts of several key players. They've already restructured Drew Brees, Wil Lutz, David Onyemata and more while also releasing Thomas Morstead and Josh Hill.
The Saints are far from finished, however. With one month remaining until they meet the projected 2022 salary cap of $208.2 million, there remains much work to do.
According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, they've created approximately $57 million in free space this offseason by restructuring five players' contracts. And they appear close to reaching that mark.
So far, they've reworked the contracts of safety Tyrann Mathieu, right tackle Ryan Ramczyk, safety Marcus Maye and center Erik McCoy to save approximately $7 million each. Furthermore, they converted part of Mathieu's base salary into a signing bonus which saved around $7 million; additionally they added an extra void year to McCoy's deal as well. Finally, Ramczyk and Maye's contracts were also adjusted by $8 million each for savings as well.
With this kind of cap space, they're in a better position to sign the free agents they desire this offseason. It's essential to remember that this isn't due to poor cap management - they simply kept drafting and signing elite players.
Talented players are great, but you need to keep them together for the long haul. That's why the league has been so aggressive this offseason with their restructures: making elite player contracts more manageable while still ensuring they can sign some key veterans through free agency.
They're especially interested in re-signing defensive tackle David Onyemata, who was due to become a free agent this offseason but had previously signed a five-year, $34 million deal with a $15 million signing bonus for 2020. By restructuring that contract, they can save about $10.1 million annually through 2023 and reduce his base salary from $6.8 million by converting the $5.8 million roster bonus into a signing bonus.
They're also trying to modify the contract of kicker Wil Lutz, who is set for $5 million in 2022 and will receive a $10 million roster bonus in 2023. The team can convert part of Lutz's base salary into a signing bonus and add an void year to his contract, reducing it from $4 million in 2023 and saving about $1.9 million in 2022.