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Saints show restraint in restructurings

Evans AP

At a time when so many in the media think that cap space easily can be conjured without consequence by dropping base salaries to the minimum and spreading the balance of a player’s 2013 compensation over the life of the deal, the Saints are showing a keen awareness of the issues that can arise from kicking the salary-cap can down the road.

The Saints have restructured four deals today.  In addition to receiver Marques Colston (whose deal keeps his 2013 base salary at $1.7 million), Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times Picayune reports that the Saints have restructured the contracts previously signed by linebacker David Hawthorne, guard Ben Grubbs, and guard Jahri Evans.

Each player is due to make more than the minimum salary for his level of experience in 2013.

By carrying more cap costs now for these players, the Saints won’t find themselves in an even bigger jam later — especially when quarterback Drew Brees‘ contract spikes to a jaw-dropping cap number of $26.4 million in 2015.

As we explained last week, those cap numbers make Brees a bad candidate for a full-blown restructuring.  If the Saints were to reduce Brees’ base salary to the 10-plus-year minimum in 2013, his cap number in 2015 would climb to $28.6 million.  In 2016, Brees would consume $29.6 million in cap space.

Thus, the Saints know that they’ll have even bigger cap challenges in the coming years, so they’re playing it smart with this year’s wave of restructurings.

Hopefully, this will prove to the doubters that, at a time when the cap is growing at best by two percent annually, pushing cap space into future years eventually will make it impossible to field a competitive team.

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7 Responses to “Saints show restraint in restructurings”
  1. thrillheaux says: Feb 27, 2013 9:55 PM

    You keep talking about Brees’s cap situation being insurmountable, but in 2015 the Saints could very well extend Brees, say, 4 years (2017-2020, when he’s 38-42) convert a heavy chunk of his $18m base salary to a signing bonus spread out over 6 seasons (2015-2020), convert more base salary to a signing bonus in 2016, then take a massive cap hit when they cut him. Say they push back enough in 2015/16 so that cutting him results in a $20m cap hit in 2018. They have talent around Brees, but they almost certainly won’t be anywhere near a SB caliber team when it’s time for him to move on. The Saints would be wise to free up the space over the next ~4 years to remain a SB contender and just rip off the band-aid in one motion when they’re rebuilding. If they go that route, I don’t see why they couldn’t have him free up some space this offseason if they choose to.

  2. madcapdawgfan says: Feb 27, 2013 10:16 PM

    Drew Brees demands an explanation.

  3. cmart0907 says: Feb 28, 2013 8:36 AM

    This reconstruct contract stuff is bogus!! Tell them dont offer it if they dont want to pay it. Don’t matter if he dont play up to what you guys expected so now its time reconstruct! A contract is a contract plain and simple. A guy wont say dont offer me 5yr/100million im only worth 5yr/25million C’MON NOW!!!!

  4. Steeley McBeam says: Feb 28, 2013 8:49 AM

    So the Saints are restructuring contracts but are smart for not restructuring contracts? Got it.

  5. uwsptke says: Feb 28, 2013 9:58 AM

    If the cap ends up at $123 mil, the Saints are still presently $3 mil over ($126 mil) after these restructures. They’re probably saving Brees for last.

  6. bullwnkl985 says: Feb 28, 2013 10:08 AM

    Cmart, you clearly don’t understand the concept of these contract restructurings….

    None of these players took a dime less than what they were originally going to make under their current contracts. In fact, these restructurings actually help the players, because they get more of their money up-front in one lump sum, instead of being spread out over 16 gameday paychecks.

    The only thing the restructures do is spread out the cap hit over the life of the contract to help the teams.

  7. ilovefoolsball says: Feb 28, 2013 2:22 PM

    Mickey Loomis isn’t going to put the Saints in a bind. He might not be the master talent evaluator that other teams have as GM (The Saints rely on their scouting department for the majority of their talent evaluation) but he’s one of the best contract negotiators in the league.

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