The Saints didn’t use the franchise tag on Monday, but they did make a move to clear themselves room under the salary cap.
Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com reports that the team has restructured the contract of defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley. Bunkley had been scheduled to make a base salary of $3.7 million in 2013 with a cap hit of $4.7 million, but the Saints decided to convert $3 million of that money into a signing bonus. That drops Bunkley’s cap hit to $2.5 million while spreading the rest of the hit over the remaining three years on his contract.
Bunkley started 15 games for the Saints in 2012, recorded 2.5 sacks and picked up a $20,000 fine for kicking 49ers guard Alex Boone in the head during a November game. At 306 pounds, he might be a bit small to play on the nose in a traditional 3-4 defense, although that didn’t stop Rob Ryan from using Jay Ratliff there in Dallas.
The Saints reportedly would like to re-sign left tackle Jermon Bushrod before he hits the open market. The money saved in the Bunkley restructuring, along with the moves the Saints made last week, should help their effort to make that happen.