The Saints have been busy in free agency within the last couple weeks, adding players like Craig Robertson, James Laurinaitis, and Nick Fairley to new contracts while also matching the Bears’ offer sheet for tight end Josh Hill. It wasn’t clear initially how the cap-strapped Saints were creating room for all their new contracts, but Evan Woodbery of The Times-Picayune has shed some light on the subject.
According to Woodbery, New Orleans has restructured the contracts for defensive end Cameron Jordan and punter Thomas Morstead to create a little cap space. Woodbery writes that the moves have pushed the Saints back up to $3.03MM in available cap space, after that figure had been reduced to $273K last week. Still, the new figure doesn’t include Fairley, so even if the team has room to squeeze in the defensive tackle’s new contract, additional restructures or releases will eventually be required.
For Jordan, it was the second time in two months that the Saints have tweaked his contract, giving him more money up front. In February, the team created $4.8MM in cap room by converting Jordan’s $6MM roster bonus into a signing bonus. Now the club has also converted most of his $3.5MM base salary into a signing bonus — by reducing his salary to $765K, the Saints create a $2.73MM bonus, which will be prorated over five years, opening up $2.184MM in cap space for 2016.
As for Morstead, he got a $2.1MM signing bonus, with his $3MM base salary reduced to $900K. That bonus prorates over three seasons, creating $1.4MM in cap savings for 2016. The veteran punter’s 2017 and 2018 cap numbers have increased to $4.7MM and $4.85MM respectively as a result of the restructure.
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