Saints Redo Keenan Lewis’ Contract

8:29am: Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun has more specifics on Lewis’ new deal, reporting that his signing bonus is actually worth $3.9MM, since his per-game roster bonuses for the next two seasons have been removed. The cornerback’s base salaries for 2015 and 2016 are now fully guaranteed, and $3MM of his $4.75MM salary for 2017 is guaranteed as well (all Twitter links).

8:08am: Amidst a recent mini-exodus of his teammates, cornerback Keenan Lewis told the Saints that he wanted to either have the rest of his contract guaranteed or be released. While the Saints didn’t guarantee Lewis’ entire remaining salary, the team has shown its commitment to him by redoing his contract, adding more guaranteed money, a source tells Ian Rapoport of (Twitter link).

Katherine Terrell of the New Orleans Times-Picayune has some details on the move, reporting that Lewis has agreed to reduce his 2015 base salary from $1.8MM to $850K and his 2016 base salary from $4.25MM to $2.7MM. The reduced portions of those salaries have been converted to a signing bonus, which appears to be worth $2.85MM. All in all, Lewis receives an extra $10.4MM in guarantees, and his cap hit dips from $4.85MM to $4.5MM for ’15, creating a tiny bit of extra flexibility for the Saints.

The Saints’ re-commitment to Lewis comes at a time when the club appears to be redirecting its resources to the defensive side of the ball to some extent. New Orleans has traded tight end Jimmy Graham, guard Ben Grubbs, and wide receiver Kenny Stills this month while stockpiling early-round draft picks.

Lewis, signed over from the Steelers two years ago, has started 16 games in each of the past two seasons, posting six interceptions. He’s expected to play opposite newly-signed cornerback Brandon Browner in the team’s starting lineup in 2015.

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