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Salary Cap Crisis Looming in 2015

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Good read. Guess you could say we have options, however limited at best. Reality bites folks. ------------------------- New Orleans Saints: Salary Cap Crisis Looming In 2015 The New Orleans Saints are heading to a salary cap crisis this offseason. They’ll ...

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Old 12-08-2014, 08:56 PM   #1
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Salary Cap Crisis Looming in 2015

Good read. Guess you could say we have options, however limited at best.

Reality bites folks.

-------------------------
New Orleans Saints: Salary Cap Crisis Looming In 2015

The New Orleans Saints are heading to a salary cap crisis this offseason. They’ll have some tough decisions to make this year that will have long-term effects on their ability to compete for a spot in the playoffs.

Despite having a losing record, the New Orleans Saints are tied with Atlanta for the division lead. Their fans need to hope that they can get into the playoff, because a long and painful rebuilding period is coming in the near future.

The Saints are in the league’s worst position in terms of the 2015 salary cap. They’ve already over $160 million in used cap space for next season, which is $10 million more than the next team, the San Francisco 49ers.

The problem with that is that the 2015 salary cap is going to be well below that number. The guys at overthecap.com estimate that the 2015 cap will be $140 million. My own calculation estimate that it’ll be closer to $146 million. That’s better for the Saints, but still much to low for New Orleans to avoid losing considerable talent this offseason.

The reason for all of this is simple. Over the past few seasons, the Saints have repeatedly mortgaged their future to win now. That was probably a good choice, since quarterback Drew Brees isn’t going to play forever. They might as well maximize their chances at another Super Bowl while they still have him.

Unfortunately, that also means that the Saints are finally going to have to pay the price for the way they’ve managed their cap. Lets make sure we’re clear on this: it isn’t going to be pretty.

Getting Under the Cap

When the league year begins in early March, the Saints must be under the 2015 cap. That’ll mean cutting between $15-20 million in salary. That is a considerable total.

Here is a list of every play that can be cut that’ll save at least $1 million against the cap. The Saints aren’t going to clear that much cap space without dropping big contracts.

Player------------Pos---Dead Money-----Cap Number
Drew Brees QB ($14,800,000) $26,400,000
Junior Galette OLB ---------------- $14,100,000
Jahri Evans G ($5,000,000) $11,000,000
Jairus Byrd S ($8,800,000) $10,300,000
Marques ColstonWR ($5,400,000) $9,700,000
Ben Grubbs G ($6,000,000) $9,600,000
Curtis Lofton ILB ($5,000,000) $9,000,000
Cameron Jordan DE --------------- $6,969,000
Brodrick BunkleyDT ($3,225,000) $6,112,500
David HawthorneOLB ($3,020,000) $6,010,000
Thomas MorsteadP ($2,150,000) $3,400,000
Pierre Thomas RB ($830,000) $2,565,000
Rafael Bush S -------------- $1,950,000
Benjamin WatsonTE ($400,000) $1,900,000

One of the things that stands out when looking at that chart is that most of the team’s cap troubles would disappear if Drew Brees decides to retire. Not only will the team get $12 million in cap space, but they’d also get back some of the signing bonus money, which would lower the amount of dead money as well.

Of course, losing Brees to retirement would signal the end of the team’s ability to contend, so that is hardly a solution. If that happens, the Saints would be wise to blow everything up and start over, since this entire team is built around Brees’ arm.

New Orleans could free up the necessary cap space simply by cutting Junior Galette and Cameron Jordan. Doing that would fix the salary cap problems, but it would also remove the best two players from an already-bad defense.

Both of them are young players, so the Saints are more likely to try and sign them to lucrative extensions. Doing so could lower their cap numbers significantly for 2015, but it’ll also adds to the problem in 2016 and beyond. Both are also worth the trouble of doing so.

If they are signed to back-loaded extensions, then the combined cap saving likely wont be enough to get the Saints under the cap. Rafael Bush and Ben Watson would be logical choices to go as the team cuts the remaining salary that is necessary.

Another source of cap relief could come from restructuring Bree’s contract. Converting some of his 2015 salary into a signing bonus would some of his cap number into future years. It is a sub-optimal solution since it will create another cap crisis in the future, but it will work for 2015.

The Free Agent Problem

Unfortunately, what is discussed above is only part of the problem. There’s also the issue of the 22 players that are on the current roster but are not currently under contract for the 2015 season.

None of those players are counted toward the $160 million that the team currently has on the book for next season. Even if the Saints are able to get under the cap by cutting just a few players, all of the free-agents-to-be would also be gone for next season.


Here is a list of each of the free agents that the Saints are set to lose if they cannot clear the cap space necessary to re-sign them.

PLAYER----------------POS--ST---AGE
Robert Meachem WR UFA 30
Patrick Robinson CB UFA 27
Mark Ingram RB UFA 24
Jamarca Sanford S UFA 29
Luke McCown QB UFA 33
Ramon Humber ILB UFA 27
Parys Haralson OLB UFA 30
Jonathan GoodwinC UFA 36
Travaris Cadet RB RFA 25
Tyrunn Walker DE RFA 24
Cheta Ozougwu DE UFA 26
Brandon DeaderickDT UFA 27
Bryce Harris LT RFA 25
Shayne Graham K UFA 36
Senio Kelemete G RFA 24
Joseph Morgan WR UFA 26
Adrian Davis CB ERFA 25
Jalen Saunders WR ERFA 22
Moise Fokou ILB UFA 29
Terrence FrederickCB ERFA 24
Lawrence Virgil DE ERFA 23
Greg Romeus DE UFA 26


Luckily, none of these players are irreplaceable. Losing Meachem and Robinson will hurt a little, but it neither is crucial to the team’s success next season. The same can be said for Ingram, especially since the Saints have Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson on the roster at his position.

The main issue here is that losing this many players and replacing them primarily with undrafted free agents and journeymen backups willing to play for the league minimum constitutes a major drop-off in overall roster depth. It is a storm that the Saints could weather, but would have difficulty remaining a playoff contender if they did so.

The Saints must find a way to keep some of their own free agents if they’re going to be in the running for the playoffs in 2015.

Putting It All Together

No matter what happens down the stretch and in the playoff this season, the Saints will go into the 2015 league-year with a serious issue that must be addressed. Years of trading resources for present-day success has finally caught up with them.

The Saints have taken a serious step backwards this season, and are lucky that the rest of the NFC South is fairly awful. It is highly possible that this is going to be last season for a while in which the Saints are a playoff contender.

Just getting under the cap and replacing a few of their own free agents wont be enough. This is already a team with a losing record. The rest of the division won’t stay as awful as it is right now. The Saints lack the ability to improve their team, since their draft will be spent just trying to replace pieces lost in free agency.

No matter what the Saints do to get under the cap, they’re going to lose players that have played key roles in recent years. They are losing talent a faster rate than can be acquired via the draft.

The Saints likely won’t commit to a major rebuild until the wheels completely come off and the team is well out of playoff contention. Unfortunately, that day is coming sooner than the team and most of their fans want to believe.

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Old 12-08-2014, 09:04 PM   #2
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Re: Salary Cap Crisis Looming in 2015

LOL. Why do people continue to say this every year? You would think after last offseason they'd have learned.

Restructure Brees, cut some dead weight like Bunkley and Hawthorne, Loomis will be in the black easily.

Come on, we know better than to listen to this salary cap panic crap again.
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Old 12-08-2014, 09:05 PM   #3
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Re: Salary Cap Crisis Looming in 2015

Can someone please explain to me the difference between "Dead Money" and "Cap Number"?
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Old 12-08-2014, 09:06 PM   #4
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Re: Salary Cap Crisis Looming in 2015

Originally Posted by Jack Vegas View Post
LOL. Why do people continue to say this every year? You would think after last offseason they'd have learned.

Restructure Brees, cut some dead weight like Bunkley and Hawthorne, Loomis will be in the black easily.

Come on, we know better than to listen to this salary cap panic crap again.
I've always back Loomis but this year seems to be the one that's caught up to him.

"cut some dead weight" could equate to 10-15 players.
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Old 12-08-2014, 09:19 PM   #5
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Re: Salary Cap Crisis Looming in 2015

Here's my take,
We made major mistakes giving another safety other than one we drafted ( Byrd) a ton of money...
Giving a TE (Graham) a ton of money.
Those are positions of excess in the NFL.
But as far as this list goes...
I see a lot of guys that are "just good enough to lose with."
Junior - gone 14 mill
Colston - gone 4+ mill
Grubbs - gone 3+
Bunkley - gone 3
Hawhtorne - gone 3

These guys, well at least their production can be replaced...

The Free Agent Problem
NOT REALLY...

PLAYER----------------POS--ST---AGE
Meachem
Ingram
McCown
Haralson
Goodwin
Cadet
Morgan
Romeus

Most of these guys don't do crap now...
Players come and go...
You hold on to the really good ones and let the others walk.
That's pro football.

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Old 12-08-2014, 09:23 PM   #6
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Re: Salary Cap Crisis Looming in 2015

Outside of Roll tide and Pary Haralson, not a lot of keepers on that FA list for me. I'm expecting to see a lot of new faces next season.
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Old 12-08-2014, 09:24 PM   #7
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Re: Salary Cap Crisis Looming in 2015

One thing to consider is that the Saint's were able attract free agents who wanted a chance for a ring. For almost a decade the Saints have been able to claim to be one of the few teams that, year after year, had a really good chance of making it to the Super Bowl.

It's going to take a few years or more to rebuild that rep.
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Old 12-08-2014, 09:44 PM   #8
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Re: Salary Cap Crisis Looming in 2015

Originally Posted by Jack Vegas View Post
LOL. Why do people continue to say this every year? You would think after last offseason they'd have learned.

Restructure Brees, cut some dead weight like Bunkley and Hawthorne, Loomis will be in the black easily.

Come on, we know better than to listen to this salary cap panic crap again.
Every Year we go through this.
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Old 12-08-2014, 09:52 PM   #9
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Re: Salary Cap Crisis Looming in 2015

Originally Posted by QBREES9 View Post
Every Year we go through this.
that is why this record is hard to listen too when the record on the field is just as bad.

besides drew restructuring the only real option we have is not to blow this draft. we need football players not a bunch of educated gambles that turn out to be .. well not so educated after all.

we need picks and plenty of them. they all have to be solid too.

Last edited by hagan714; 12-08-2014 at 09:55 PM..
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Old 12-08-2014, 11:11 PM   #10
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Re: Salary Cap Crisis Looming in 2015

Originally Posted by saintsfan1976 View Post
I've always back Loomis but this year seems to be the one that's caught up to him.

"cut some dead weight" could equate to 10-15 players.
It hasn't caught up to him though. Restructuring Brees, then cutting Bunkley and Hawthorne puts the team under the cap. Literally.

One other restructure (Evans) and one probable cut (Colston) gives you nearly $8 million to work with. Extending Jordan will save you even more, etc. etc. etc. It's very unlikely that Loomis goes into the offseason with less than $10 million under the cap, and that's based on a conservative estimate that the cap is $140 million next season when it's really going to be like $145 million.

Whether you want Loomis to keep playing this game is another issue, but if the Saints fall apart it won't be because their salary cap is messed up. We could've kept Sproles last offseason if the staff really wanted to. They didn't. That's a bad personnel choice, but it's got nothing to do with cap space.
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