Despite the fact that the team is further over the projected 2015 cap than any other club in the league, the Saints don’t have any plans at the moment to reduce Drew Brees‘ cap hit for the coming year by reworking his contract, according to head coach Sean Payton. As Katherine Terrell of the Times-Picayune details, Payton told Pro Football Talk that the Saints haven’t discussed a restructure or an extension for the star QB.
“I don’t think that’s something that’s going to be happening anytime soon or something that [Brees] or his agent have talked to [general manager] Mickey [Loomis] about,” Payton said.
It seems a little hard to believe that the Saints will leave Brees’ contract untouched, considering the team is currently more than $23MM over the projected cap (per OverTheCap.com), and the quarterback’s cap number for 2015 is $26.4MM. For comparison’s sake, during the 2014 season, only two players had cap hits higher than $20MM — Ndamukong Suh ($22.41MM) and Eli Manning ($20.4MM).
Of course, a simple restructure – converting base salary into a signing bonus – would increase 2016’s cap hit beyond its current $27.4MM figure, making it even more unpalatable. But a new contract extension that added a couple years to Brees’ current deal could potentially reduce the cap hits for both seasons, and provide the signal-caller with a chunk of up-front money. It will be interesting to see what series of moves the Saints complete to create cap space if Brees’ contract isn’t involved. Other candidates for restructures or pay cuts include Junior Galette, Jimmy Graham, Jairus Byrd, Marques Colston, and Jahri Evans, as our Zach Links detailed in his preview of the team’s offseason this morning.
Payton was also asked about the Saints’ three biggest offseason needs during his conversation with PFT, and Nick Underhill of The Advocate tweets that the head coach identified cornerback, interior offensive lineman, and pass rusher as three positions on which to focus.