Cap will be around $121m, Saints will be at $138.5m if they carry over their free cap space from this season to next (they will). For those unaware (as I was until recently), the carryover was introduced in the most recent CBA from 2 years ago: LINK
We also have some unavoidable expenses coming up:
-De la Puenta 2nd round tender: $2m. He could end up extending but even with a backloaded deal, they can't really do anything to make that number any lower
-Say $2m to fill out the roster on between 6-10 3rd/4th string types
-$3m on draft picks (2012 15th pick Bruce Irvin has a ~$1.7m cap hit last year, figure ours to have about the same, and if we get the 2nd back, which I think we will, the rest of the players will about double that total)
As a result of those expenses, let's pretend that $138.5m is an even $145m:
For listed cuts:
The first number is the amount that will be knocked off that $145m cap number. Feel free to ignore what follows it if you don't want a breakdown. In parentheses is the base and other non-guaranteed breakdowns of what makes up the total saved. The final "dead" money is the amount that will still count towards the salary cap. This is already factored in to the first "total saved" number. Some of that dead money could be pushed into the 2014 season for some players, but let's assume they don't for now.
No brainer cuts:
Vilma: $5.5m ($4.8m base, $1.1m roster, $500k dead)
Smith: $8m ($9m base, $1m roster, $4m dead with $2m of that being accelerated from the 2014 voidable year, which is why the $8m saved isn't equal to the 9m base + 1m roster bonus)
Herring: $1.6m ($1.5m base, $100k workout, $100k dead)
These no brainer cuts leave us at $131.4m, about $9m over the cap.
-Harper: $3.6m ($5.25m base, $100k workout, $3.5m dead with $1.75 of it being accelerated)
Between base salaries and signing bonuses, I think Harper could get close to that $5.25m from another team, so he won't be likely to take a paycut.
-Hawthorne: $1.72m ($1m base, $3m roster, $3m dead with $2.2m accelerated from 2014-16).
Has us by the balls a bit with 4/5ths of his contract remaining, but after how he played last season after missing much with an injury, I think he'd have to renegotiate a bit.
-others like Chamberlain, Emo, that will be possibilities, but won't save that much money.
So say we save $5m total out of the "possibles" by cutting Harper and getting Hawthorne to take a small paycut and cutting Chamberlain. That leaves us $4m over the cap. Now what?
-Brees restructure: He'll convert his $9.7m base salary into a signing bonus. This will almost certainly happen
Amount saved off of 2013 cap: $7m. Prepare for a massive dildo up the arse in 2015 (~$27.5m against cap).
Current cap space: $3
-Designate Smith as a post June 1st cut: $2m of the dead money pushed into next offseason.
Current cap space: $5m
Bushrod restructure: does same as Brees, but with only a portion of his $7.2m base salary, freeing up $2m:
Current cap space: $7m
There are more options to push even more money into future seasons, but they won't get crazy with it.
So with $7m in space (and, again, all draft pick salaries accounted for and roster filled with typical 3rd stringers/special teamers), we have some options. Bushrod made $5m per season in his 2 year deal and he neither got better nor regressed. I think 4 years/$20m gets him extended. IMO, they let him walk and sign an older guy like Starks or McKinnie to a 1 or 2 year deal and head into the draft with a "if Fischer is there in the first or Lane Johnson is there in the 2nd, we'll pick them up, otherwise make LT a 2014 draft priority." type mentality. They could also give Brown a shot to finally shine (LOL!!). Let's say we do Starks at 1 year, vet minimum deal (~$950k, but only $550k counts against the cap). That would leave us with about $6.5m to go after a few older, reliable stopgaps like Aubrayo Franklin, Casey Hampton, Sopoaga, Madieu Williams Ed Reed that can get the job done for a year or two and leave us less desperate for a S or NT in the draft. Could also add some cheaper, younger players for long term depth along the line like Sammie Lee Hill (potential NT starter, actually),
tl;dr: Saints: Stacked, League: fricked, THRILLHO: buzzed
ETA: Pray Graham doesn't hold out.
This post was edited on 1/26 at 3:23 pm