The Saints are trying to hold onto potential free agents like Drew Brees and Carl Nicks and they’re working on a way to create more money to do it.
Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that the team will restructure the contract of defensive end Will Smith to add more money under the cap for 2012. Smith is due to make $7 million in base salary and $1.15 million in roster and workout bonuses this season as part of a cap figure that adds up to $10.15 million. Triplett does not know what the new cap figure will be, but Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports reports that they expect to save five or six million by guaranteeing some of the money owed to Smith.
There was some discussion last month that Smith could wind up as a salary cap casualty after an uneven 2011 season. He had 6.5 sacks and two forced fumbles, but, like most of the Saints’ front seven, Smith didn’t do much to stop the running games of the opposition over the course of the year. Restructuring the deal should keep Smith in the Crescent City for the 2012 year while also giving the team a better chance of holding onto players who helped them win the NFC South.