Saints Rework Contracts Of Derek Carr, Nathan Shepherd

After reworking Erik McCoy‘s contract earlier this week, the Saints continue to carve out cap space. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Saints have restructured quarterback Derek Carr‘s contract, opening around $23MM in cap space. Meanwhile, ESPN’s Field Yates adds that the team also restructured defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd‘s deal, clearing another $3MM in space.

[RELATED: Saints Restructure C Erik McCoy’s Contract]

Carr inked a four-year, $150MM contract with the Saints last offseason. According to Jason Fitzgerald of, the Saints likely converted the maximum ($28.79MM) of Carr’s $30MM salary into a bonus, reducing the quarterback’s cap number from $35.7MM to $12.67MM in the process.

Of course, this instant relief will have an impact on the team’s future cap sheets. Per Greg Auman of FOX Sports, this recent restructure effectively assures that Carr will be sticking around New Orleans through at least the 2025 campaign. Next offseason, the Saints will be faced with paying Carr around $40MM, or they’ll be left with an untenable $50MM in dead cap by moving on. Fitzgerald adds that the recent cap machination boosts Carr’s future cap hits by around $5.76MM per season, and his $51.46MM cap number for the 2025 campaign now ranks fifth in the NFL.

Shepherd also joined New Orleans last offseason, inking a three-year, $15MM deal. He proceeded to have a career year, compiling 50 tackles and 3.5 sacks in 17 starts. While Pro Football Focus wasn’t fond of his performance in 2023, they did grade him as one of the better pass-rushing interior defenders in the NFL.

When accounting for the reworked deals for Carr, Shepherd, and McCoy, the Saints have opened up around $33MM in cap space this week…and they may not be done. Fowler reported yesterday that the team is expected to also rework the contract of offensive lineman Cesar Ruiz. Even with all their recent moves, the Saints still need to do a lot of work to become cap compliant. The team entered the offseason around $83MM over the cap.

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