The New Orleans Saints are continuing to dig their way out of the NFL’s worst salary cap situation. Their latest progress came Saturday when news broke that Cameron Jordan and Demario Davis agreed to restructured contracts.
General manager Mickey Loomis still has a ton of work to do so that New Orleans can retain most of its veteran core, but the good-faith moves by Jordan and Davis will save the Saints a considerable chunk of change.
New Orleans Saints save over $13.4M with restructures
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the details of how Jordan and Davis helped New Orleans with some 2021 cap relief:
Even with those savings, though, the Saints are still just under $46 million in the salary cap red.
The good news is, they’re getting commitments out of Jordan and Davis, who could’ve held firm and not accepted restructures. They were well-deserving of their massive contracts, as Jordan has been among the NFL’s premier edge defenders for several years, while Davis has emerged as an All-Pro in his own right.
Other moves New Orleans Saints can make to get under salary cap
Given how great Davis has been over the past two seasons especially, there’s a real chance fellow linebacker Kwon Alexander gets cut this offseason. Alexander would free up more than $13 million in cap space on his own.
Trading away star cornerback Marshon Lattimore would sting since he’s such a good player, yet his departure could potentially yield a first-round draft pick, and save another $10.2 million.
Offensive linemen Terron Armstead and Andrus Peat could save the Saints a considerable sum if they agree to restructured contracts, and the same goes for cornerback Janoris Jenkins.
Rumors have surfaced recently that defensive tackle Malcom Brown could leave either via trade or release, and he’d create an additional $5 million or so of cap room.
Those all essentially need to be worked out, because there’s no telling what might happen with superstar receiver Michael Thomas. He’s created waves within the organization, went through an injury-riddled 2020 campaign and has even stirred up trade buzz.
Never mind any pending free agents of their own the Saints want to re-sign, such as safety Marcus Williams or quarterback Jameis Winston. There’s so much in-house cleaning still remaining to keep New Orleans’ strong roster intact, and some tough decisions and parting of ways will no doubt have to continue being made.
Retaining defensive cornerstones like Jordan and Davis is critical to ensuring the Saints’ winning culture and continuity remain intact. They’ll ensure that the front seven remains strong even if Brown is ultimately gone.
The bigger concern is in the secondary. If Williams doesn’t get the franchise tag or sign a team-friendly, backloaded contract, he’ll likely seek a superior payday elsewhere. Then there’s the matter of Lattimore’s future due to his expensive price tag, and the fact that aging safety Malcolm Jenkins is coming off his worst Pro Football Focus grade since 2013.
That back end of New Orleans’ defense has been a strength of late, yet it may turn into its biggest liability. Facing off against Tom Brady, Matt Ryan and whomever the Carolina Panthers get at quarterback in the NFC South won’t be easy if that group changes too much in 2021.
It might take parting with some veterans and doing a pseudo-rebuild on the fly with the aid of the 2021 NFL Draft for the Saints to have a shot at defending the division crown they’ve worn for the past four seasons.