With the Saints switching from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense and defensive end Will Smith due to receive a base salary of $9 million in 2013, the chances of Will Smith becoming a salary-cap casualty possibly have increased.
While Dwight Freeney made the transition in Indianapolis last season despite the inflated contract-year base salary, Freeney’s status with the Colts wasn’t in doubt before the change to a 3-4 defense. Smith already had been mentioned as a guy who could be purged from the roster as the Saints try to get in line with the salary cap.
That said, the transition for Smith may not be as difficult. “We were primarily a 3-4 in certain situations last year, and the past two years with Gregg [Williams] we were a form of 3-4,” Smith told Larry Holder of the New Orleans Time Picayune. “So I mean [Sean Payton] probably thinks it would probably be the best defense to help the team. That’s his take on it. I haven’t had a chance to speak to him on it or anybody. He’s the head coach and he makes the final call.”
Linebacker Scott Shanle welcomes the change, primarily because the change from Gregg Williams to Steve Spagnuolo didn’t go all that well.
“It’s better to make a change than not make a change,” Shanle told Holder. “I’m being brutally honest in that there absolutely were issues with the scheme. Guys no matter how many years they played, there were things I was being told to do in this scheme that I’ve never heard of, and I’ve played for four different defensive coordinators.”
He’ll now play for a fifth. Whoever it ends up being.