As the Saints try to squeeze key veteran players in the hopes of creating cap space, it seems inevitable that they’ll do some money shuffling with quarterback Drew Brees.
Via a so-called “simple” restructuring, Brees could have millions of 2013 base salary converted to a guaranteed payment that would drop his cap number significantly.
For example, $8.8 million of his $9.75 million base salary for 2013 could be shifted to a guaranteed payment, reducing his base salary for this year to the 10-plus-year veteran minimum of $940,000. Then, the $8.8 million would be spread over the remaining four years of his deal, dropping the cap number in 2013 by $6.6 million.
Here’s the problem, however. That would add another $2.2 million in cap charges to each of the final three years of the contract. Which means that the cap number in 2014 would move from $18.4 million to $20.6 million. Likewise, Brees’ cap number in 2015 would increase from $26.4 million to $28.6 million. And the cap number in the final year of his contract would grow from $27.4 million to $29.6 million.
With the salary cap not expected to spike in 2015, or ever, the Saints would be seeing a greater and greater percentage of their total cap space devoted to a player who, as Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times-Picayune pointed out on PFT Live, already is the oldest member of the team.
In two years, when Brees is 36 and his cap number would be closing in on $30 million, the Saints and their franchise quarterback would be faced with a decision that, depending on how it turns out, could fundamentally alter the direction of the franchise.
Of course, even without a restructuring, Brees still has unprecedentedly gigantic cap numbers looming, at a time when the salary cap is barely growing.