So we were at $140m in mid January according to ESPN (most recent number I could find)
PFT thinks the cap could be just over $123m. So that's $17m over.
Thomas/Johnny Patrick saved us $3m, so that's $14m over.
Colston saved $3m, so that's $11m over.
Grubbs saved us $4m, so we're sitting right around $7m over the cap.
ETA: Evans saved $3m, so $4m now.
ETA2: Hawthorne converted his roster bonus into a signing bonus, saving $2m on the season.
ETA3: Bunkley restructure frees up $2.2m. I won't change the # in the title on account of Yasinska/Clayton figuring we're still about $3m over...
Cutting Will Smith would save us $8m on the season ($1m roster bonus + $9m base = $10m less the $2m accelerated roster bonus, which we could leave until next year should be choose to free up $10m). Cutting Vilma would free up just shy of $6m.
So without a Brees restructure (which will be inevitable within the next 2 offseasons), cutting Smith/Vilma and taking into account, say, $4m combined in draft pick and special teams/3rd string players, and $2m for DLP's 2nd round tender, we could very easily have $8m in legit FA spending money pretty soon.
This post was edited on 3/4 at 3:21 pm