Both Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma and Saints cornerback Jabari Greer were due to earn base salaries of $5.4 million in 2012. The both now have new contracts.
Greer’s came to light on Friday. On Saturday, Larry Holder of CBSSports.com reported that Vilma has “restructured” his contract, which carried a cap number of $7.5 million.
To the extent that either player is suspended as part of the bounty situation (and to the extent the suspension survives an appeal), the conversion of base salary to guaranteed payment that typically occurs in a restructured contract results in a lower base salary and, in turn, a lower amount of lost wages in the event of a suspension.
In Vilma’s case, motivation to re-do his deal also comes from his history of knee injuries and the influx of linebacking talent during free agency. If Vilma had declined to help find a way to reduce his cap number, a more dramatic reduction may have come involuntarily.
It’ll all be more clear when the official numbers come out. For now, it’s possible that either or both players will lose significantly less money if a bounty-related suspension is imposed.