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Burning Questions: Cap Casualties?

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; $9mill from Bunkly and Hawthorne alone. No brainer. New Orleans Saints' burning questions: Potential cap casualties - ESPN METAIRIE, La. -- The New Orleans Saints have several major roster decisions to make before the start of the new league year ...

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Old 02-13-2015, 01:50 PM   #1
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Burning Questions: Cap Casualties?

$9mill from Bunkly and Hawthorne alone.

No brainer.

New Orleans Saints' burning questions: Potential cap casualties - ESPN

METAIRIE, La. -- The New Orleans Saints have several major roster decisions to make before the start of the new league year and free-agent signing period on March 10. For starters, they must trim somewhere between $20 and $30 million in salary-cap space (most of which will be accomplished by converting roster bonuses into signing bonuses).

Hereís the latest in a series of 10 of the most burning questions the Saints have to answer:

The question: Who are the potential salary-cap casualties?

The answer: Iíve already broken down a few guys who could be in line for pay cuts or possible releases: receiver Marques Colston (likely pay cut); guards Jahri Evans and Ben Grubbs (likely safe -- especially Evans), and cornerback Corey White (possible release).

Here are some others, with where they fall on that sliding scale:

DT Brodrick Bunkley (likely to be released): Bunkley is due $4.5 million in salary and bonuses. The Saints could save $2.9 million against the cap by cutting him -- or all $4.5 million if they designate him as a post-June 1 release and push some of the cap costs to 2016.

Last season, the Saints worked out a substantial pay cut with Bunkley to keep him in New Orleans, so that remains a possibility again. But I think itís even more likely that they release the 31-year-old, who has been a solid run-stuffer in a part-time role -- but nowhere near as impactful as the Saints expected when they signed him to a five-year deal in 2012 worth between $22.5 and $25 million.

Bunkleyís season ended early last year with a quadriceps injury suffered in November.

LB David Hawthorne (likely to be released or accept pay cut): Hawthorne is due $4.5 million in salary and bonuses, including a $2.5 million roster bonus. The Saints could save $3 million against the cap by cutting him -- or all $4.5 million if they designate him as a post-June 1 release.

Hawthorne, 29, has been decent while playing about 70 percent of the Saintsí snaps over the past two seasons as a starting inside linebacker -- the highlight coming when he had three sacks against the Chicago Bears in Week 15 last season. But like Bunkley, he hasnít lived up to the big contract he signed in 2012.

Whether they keep Hawthorne, the Saints need to find a younger athlete who can cover more ground in the open field and drop back in pass coverage.

LB Curtis Lofton (likely to stay at current price): Lofton, 28, is due $7 million in salary and bonuses, including a hefty $4.5 million roster bonus. Thatís a lot, but Lofton was one of the few defensive players who actually lived up to his contract last season as both a thumper in the run game and a valued leader/captain/quarterback of the defense. He wasnít perfect, with some limitations in pass coverage and missed tackles, but his 144 tackles ranked fourth in the NFL.

Itís possible the Saints will approach Lofton about a pay cut. If not, they will certainly convert his roster bonus into a signing bonus to save $2.25 million against the cap.

RB Pierre Thomas (likely to stay at current price): Thomas, 30, is due $2.15 million in salary and bonuses, which is borderline for a part-time player. But heís been one of the most valuable role players in the entire Sean Payton-Drew Brees era as a runner/receiver/pass protector, and he already took a small pay cut last year. Plus, the Saints will need Thomas even more if they donít re-sign leading running back Mark Ingram, who is an unrestricted free agent.

S Rafael Bush (likely to stay at current price): Bush, 27, is due $1.95 million in the final year of his two-year contract. Heís likely to stay since the Saints valued him enough to sign him to the deal last offseason. But he fractured his lower leg late last season, which could give the Saints a little pause. Bush should at least get to show where heís at in training camp.

TE Benjamin Watson (likely to stay at current price): Watson, 34, has been about what the Saints expected as a part-time pass catcher, above-average blocker, and locker-room leader since they signed him in 2012. But heís worth mentioning on this list because he is due $1.5 million in salary and bonuses, all of which could be saved against the cap if heís released.
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Old 02-13-2015, 04:29 PM   #2
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Re: Burning Questions: Cap Casualties?

Bunkley, Hawthorn and Bush can go. Lofton does need to take a cut. I love Colston but I'm not sure he still has alot left, possible cut outright if he doesn't want to take a cut. Evans and Grubbs got pushed around all season , in my opionion watching games it was more Evans than Grubbs, which getting younger on the O-line with some bulls drafting a G or getting a young FA this season will be fine with me. I would at least keep 1 of the 2 this season and draft a G next season also to take the place of the aging vet. Watson played well enough to get a 1 yr. contract anything longer I would be very, very hesitant to do. It wouldn't suprise me if Payton looks to draft a TE. Graham gets hurt every year and the young TE(can't think of his name right now) that got IR has great potential but he was hurt also.
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Old 02-13-2015, 04:52 PM   #3
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Re: Burning Questions: Cap Casualties?

Cant see Watson getting cut,the other TE is Hill. Cant see a TE getting drafted higher than 6th round. We could do with a real nasty blocking TE
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Old 02-13-2015, 09:15 PM   #4
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Re: Burning Questions: Cap Casualties?

I could see Bunkley getting cut, personally like to see Grubbs gone
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Old 02-13-2015, 11:35 PM   #5
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Re: Burning Questions: Cap Casualties?

My first cut is Ben Grubbs...

He's been a gawl-awful signing substitute when we should have paid Nicks and kept the two best guards in the league together...
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Old 02-14-2015, 06:38 AM   #6
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Re: Burning Questions: Cap Casualties?

Originally Posted by jeanpierre View Post
My first cut is Ben Grubbs...

He's been a gawl-awful signing substitute when we should have paid Nicks and kept the two best guards in the league together...
Nicks was asking for far too much and wasn't willing to give the Saints any competitive edge over the other teams looking to sign him.

Looking back, it would've certainly been in his advantage to sign with the Saints, since he'd probably still be playing if that were the case.

The Saints went out and signed the best available G to replace Nicks, and I for one don't think Grubbs has been the problem with the OL.
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Old 02-14-2015, 07:41 AM   #7
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Re: Burning Questions: Cap Casualties?

Originally Posted by FinSaint View Post
Nicks was asking for far too much and wasn't willing to give the Saints any competitive edge over the other teams looking to sign him.

Looking back, it would've certainly been in his advantage to sign with the Saints, since he'd probably still be playing if that were the case.

The Saints went out and signed the best available G to replace Nicks, and I for one don't think Grubbs has been the problem with the OL.
I don't think it been Grubbs either, pressure up the middle has been bad,G,C,G, with getting at least a stud C and replacing Evans with a stud G our line will be fine, stout actually. Brees had to be able to step up to throw, he doesn't have the arm strenght not to like bigger stronger qb.'s do. If those 2 positions are not fixed our O will suffer.
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Old 02-14-2015, 12:08 PM   #8
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Re: Burning Questions: Cap Casualties?

No one on offense should be cut. We need a new center but outside of that we need them back next year. Cutting colston would be a huge mistake the guy is a great leader and locker room guy for all the young wrs we have.

Restructuring is what needs to happen in the offensive side.

Need some cuts on the defensive side, bunk and Hawthorne need to go asap.
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Old 02-14-2015, 12:54 PM   #9
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Re: Burning Questions: Cap Casualties?

Originally Posted by blackangold View Post
No one on offense should be cut. We need a new center but outside of that we need them back next year. Cutting colston would be a huge mistake the guy is a great leader and locker room guy for all the young wrs we have.

Restructuring is what needs to happen in the offensive side.

Need some cuts on the defensive side, bunk and Hawthorne need to go asap.
I can get with most of that.

Still think we need another WR. A younger more athletic Colston.

D line needs a plug.
D needs a speedy coverage LB
Secondary needs a true #2 CB
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Old 02-14-2015, 04:44 PM   #10
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Re: Burning Questions: Cap Casualties?

I have no problem with Hawthrone staying just don't ask him to cover anyone
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