It was originally believed that a $2.1MM roster bonus due April 1st would count against the Dolphins’ salary cap. Instead, it will count against the Saints’ cap at $700K per year from 2015-17. The Saints acquired Ellerbe and a third-round pick from Miami earlier this month in exchange for young wide receiver Kenny Stills. Ellerbe later agreed to a pay cut with New Orleans.
While $700K in cap space doesn’t mean a whole lot on the surface, every dollar counts for New Orleans because of their tight financial situation. Triplett estimated that they’ll have to create $2MM more in cap space to fit in their draft picks and they’ll need even more if they want to shoe in any free agents above the minimum salary.
The Saints can still carve out space elsewhere with moves like reworking guard Jahri Evans‘ contract or extending defensive end Cameron Jordan‘s deal. However, the news on Ellerbe gives them a little less wiggle room as they try to work some accounting magic this spring.