Mentioned in Saturday’s one-liners is the possibility that the Saints will have to shed linebacker Jonathan Vilma and defensive end Will Smith, due to their cap numbers comes 2013.
It’s part of a broader cap mess that, as explained by Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, has the Saints staring at a potential cap crunch of $16 million when the 2013 league year begins in March.
That number doesn’t include defensive lineman Sedrick Ellis and offensive lineman Jermon Bushrod, both of whom will be free agents and thus have no cap numbers for 2013, yet.
Smith has a base salary of $10.5 million next year, and Vilma is due to earn $6 million.
Complicating matters is that the team-by-team cap isn’t expected to go up much, if at all, from its $120.6 million level in 2013. And if quarterback Drew Brees is looking for an explanation, he should look no farther than his own contract, with a cap number that increases from $10.4 million in 2012 to $17.4 million next year.
It’s almost enough to make a suspended head coach with an expiring contract think about exploring all his options before signing a new deal.