The Saints restructured the contracts of defensive ends Cameron Jordan and Tanoh Kpassagnon, creating $12.45MM in cap room (Twitter link via Field Yates of ESPN.com). Meanwhile, the Saints have also re-signed a pair of would-be ERFAs in defensive end Carl Granderson and defensive tackle Jalen Dalton.
That’ll help the Saints tamp down their payroll, but they still have lots of work to do. Heading into today, the Saints were projected to be $45.2MM over the salary cap, so they still have a franchise quarterback’s worth of dollars to carve out.
Jordan still has two to go on his deal, thanks to the three-year, $52.5MM add-on he signed in 2019. Jordan has spent his entire career in New Orleans, turning in near-perfect attendance and 175 total starts. This past year, Jordan notched his fifth-straight Pro Bowl nod with 12.5 sacks, 59 tackles, six passes defensed, and two forced fumbles.
Kpassagnon, meanwhile, notched four sacks in eight games (five starts) last year. The 6’7″, 289-pound edge rusher still has one year to go on his deal — his contract will remain largely unchanged via the simple restructure.
The Saints offense has taken another hit. Wideout Deonte Harris has been suspended for the next three games, reports ESPN’s Field Yates (via Twitter). The move will keep Harris off the field until Week 17.
We heard previously that Harris had been slapped with a ban, but his subsequent appeal allowed him to play in each of the Saints last two games. The suspension stems from the player’s DWI arrest this past summer. The 24-year-old was booked on multiple charge following a July 16th arrest in Maryland.
This move further depletes a Saints receiving corps that has been gutted this year. The team’s Emmanuel Sanders release preceded the Michael Thomas injury drama, which led to the All-Pro target being set to miss the entire season. Tre’Quan Smith also missed time due to injury, though he has since returned. New Orleans has also played without Alvin Kamara since Week 9.
This opened the door to Harris playing a bigger role on offense. While Karama still leads the team in receptions, Harris was the team’s leading wideout, collecting 31 receptions for 523 yards and three touchdowns (all career-highs). The former All-Pro has also continued to contribute on special teams, returning 25 kicks and 17 punts.
Meanwhile, the Saints may have to deal with an absence on their defense, as defensive end Cam Jordan was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, per Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.football (on Twitter). Jordan has tested positive for COVID-19 and is vaccinated, meaning he’ll have to return a pair of negative tests if he hopes to play next Sunday against the Jets. That would mean Jordan’s 172-game streak is in jeopardy. The veteran has continued to be productive in 2021, collecting 38 tackles, six tackles for loss, 13 QB hits, and four forced fumbles.
The Saints have been busy clearing cap space over the past few days, and they’ve once again restructured the contracts of veterans. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that defensive end Cameron Jordan and linebackerDemario Davis have both agreed to rework their contracts. These two moves will save the Saints more than $13MM in cap space.
Jordan was set to have a cap hit of $18.9MM in 2021, which would have been the highest on the team. The 31-year-old has spent his entire career in New Orleans, establishing himself as a consistent force on the defensive line. Remarkably, the former first-rounder hasn’t missed a regular season game since joining the organization, and he earned his fourth-straight Pro Bowl nod (sixth overall) in 2020 after finishing with 51 tackles, 7.5 sacks, and one forced fumble. Jordan inked a three-year, $52.5MM deal with New Orleans back in 2019 that will keep him with the organization through the 2023 season.
Following a pair of stints with the Jets and a one-year cameo with the Browns, Davis joined the Saints back in 2018. He’s since established himself as one of the best linebackers in the game; after earning first-team All-Pro honors in 2019, the 32-year-old followed that up with a second-team nod in 2020. Davis ultimately finished this past season having compiled 119 tackles and four sacks. The veteran inked a three-year, $27MM deal with the Saints last September, and he was set to have a $10.8MM cap hit in 2021.
The Saints have made a handful of moves over the past week. The team reworked the contracts of defensive tackle David Onyemata and kicker Wil Lutz, and they released punter Thomas Morstead and tight end Josh Hill. Prior to today’s moves, Katherine Terrell of The Athletic estimated (on Twitter) that New Orleans had already opened more than $24MM in cap space with their various moves.
February 29th, 2020 at 8:22pm CST by Andrew Ortenberg
Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan had another very successful season, finishing with a career-high 15.5 sacks. He managed to do it despite dealing with a significant injury, as he played the last five games of the year with an adductor muscle torn off the bone, the pass-rusher told Mike Silver of NFL Network (Twitter link).
Silver added that he had core muscle surgery shortly after the Super Bowl. Fortunately for Saints fans, he’s expected to be fully recovered by training camp, although he’ll likely miss most of the offseason program. Jordan has been a warrior during his time in the league, never missing a game in his nine seasons with the Saints. New Orleans drafted Jordan 24th overall back in 2011, and he became an immediate starter.
The Saints have one of the league’s most talented defensive fronts on paper, and they’ll be hoping that Jordan and Marcus Davenport can form an elite pass-rushing duo. Jordan has notched at least 12 sacks in each of the past three seasons, earning an All-Pro nod in each of those campaigns. Jordan inked a three-year, $52.5MM extension in June of last year, keeping him under team control through the 2023 campaign.
The Saints and defensive end Cameron Jordan have agreed to terms on a brand new contract, according to Adam Shafter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The new pact will add three years to his existing deal, tying him to the team through the 2023 season.
It’s a three-year, $52.5MM extension for Jordan, giving him five years and a maximum of $74.5MM left on his commitment to the team. With Jordan under contract through the 2023 season, the club can turn its attention to a new deal for wide receiver Michael Thomas and other pressing matters.
Jordan, 30 in July, had another outstanding year for the Saints as he notched 12 sacks and 49 tackles. He now has 71.5 sacks dating back to his rookie season in 2011, all with the Saints.
Last year, Jordan ranked as the fifth-best edge defender in the NFL, according to the advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus. PFF’s stats have bestowed elite grades on Jordan for each of the past three seasons with particularly strong marks for his run defense.
While the Saints D has had its ups and downs over the years, Jordan has been a consistent terror for opposing defenses. He has four Pro Bowl nods to his credit, notching at least ten sacks in each of those campaigns. He also earned his first career First-Team All-Pro selection in 2017 with a career high 13 sacks.
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.
February 28th, 2016 at 3:23pm CST by Dallas Robinson
A report earlier today indicated that the Texans are not expected to trade for 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and Jason Cole of Bleaher Report (Twitter link) confirms that information, relaying that he was “told strongly” that Houston will not be dealing for Kaepernick. However, the Texans could have interest in Kaepernick if he is released by San Francisco.
Here’s more from Cole:
Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins has fired his agent, according to Cole (video link), after Jenkins found Los Angeles’ latest offer of five years and $45MM unacceptable. Jenkins must now wait five days to hire a new agent, during which point the Rams cannot negotiate with him. As Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News writes, Los Angeles can still the place the franchise/transition tag on Jenkins in advance of Tuesday’s deadline (though the latest reports have the Rams leaning towards using the tag on fellow corner Trumaine Johnson). Jenkins, per Cole, is expected to hire the Schwartz and Feinsod agency for representation.
Vikings GM Rick Spielman is set to meet with the agent for receiver Mike Wallace at the combine in the hopes of convincing Wallace to accept a paycut, Cole reports (video link). Wallace is scheduled to count $11.5MM against the cap in 2016, and Minnesota can clear out all that money by releasing him.
There is mutual interest between the Dolphins and free agent offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz “down the line,” tweets Cole. The Giants released Schwartz earlier this month, so he’s free to sign with any club immediately.
North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz drew rave reviews at the combine, according to Cole (video link), and while he looks like the favorite to be the first quarterback off the board in April’s draft, Cal’s Jared Goff is still in the running, as well.
Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan had offseason surgery on his lower back, per Cole (video link), but the operation was considered minor by both club and player. Jordan should be ready for New Orleans’ offseason program.
February 17th, 2016 at 8:55am CST by Zachary Links
The Saints and Cameron Jordan have agreed to a re-worked contract, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The Saints have now created $4.8MM in cap space by converting the defensive end’s $6MM roster bonus into a signing bonus. His cap number for 2016 is now $8MM.
Jordan signed a five year, $55MM contract extension with the Saints in June of 2015. In the three seasons prior to that deal, Jordan racked up 28 total sacks, including 12.5 in his Pro Bowl 2013 season. Interestingly, after recording a +35.3 grade as a pass rusher in ’13, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Jordan’s pass-rushing grade fell to -7.9 in 2014, as he totaled just 7.5 sacks. However, PFF considered the 25-year-old an above average defensive end against the run.
In 2015, Jordan proved that he’s worth the big bucks as he finished the year as PFF’s sixth-ranked DE with an overall grade of 90.1 (under the 1-100 evaluation scale; sub. req’d). On the year, Jordan recorded 10.0 sacks and 45 total tackles as he played in all 16 games. Since breaking into the league in 2011, Jordan has yet to miss a regular season contest.
8:36am: According to Field Yates of ESPN.com (via Twitter), the Saints have made the following adjustments to Ellerbe’s contract for 2016:
Reduced base salary from $4.1MM to $1.7MM (fully guaranteed, per Aaron Wilson)
Reduced roster bonus from $1MM to $750K (guaranteed for skill and injury, per Wilson)
Reduced workout bonus from $100K to $50K
Added $700K in playing-time incentives
Taking into account Ellerbe’s $700K in prorated bonus money, it looks like New Orleans trimmed the linebacker’s cap hit for 2016 from $5.9MM to $3.2MM, as Wilson tweets. That number would increase if Ellerbe earns some of his incentives, but for now, it looks like those won’t count against the cap.
Ellerbe’s 2017 year will now feature the same contract terms as 2016, but that year could be voided if he plays 80% of the Saints’ defensive snaps this year, says Yates.
11:32am: The Saints won’t release linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, but have restructured his contract to reduce his 2016 cap hit, reports Mike Triplett of ESPN.com. The details of Ellerbe’s reworked deal aren’t yet known, but the veteran linebacker almost certainly agreed to a pay cut as part of the move.
Ellerbe, who was acquired by New Orleans last March in the trade that sent Kenny Stills to the Dolphins, was limited to six games in his first season as a Saint due to nagging toe and hip injuries. The team apparently saw enough in those games to want him back for 2016, however, so Ellerbe didn’t meet the same fate as fellow linebackers David Hawthorne and Ramon Humber, who became cap casualties earlier this week.
Ellerbe had been set to count for $5.9MM against the cap in 2016, including a $4.1MM base salary. As Joel Corry of CBSSports.com details, that salary was initially guaranteed for injury only, but would have become fully guaranteed today if the Saints had kept the 30-year-old on their roster without adjusting his contract.
Here are a few more Saints-related notes for Wednesday:
In a separate Times-Picayune piece, Woodbery explores what a new (and potentially final) contract for Brees might look like, writing that it’s “hard to imagine Brees’ camp seeking anything lower than $20MM a year.” The fact that the veteran QB currently counts for $30MM against the 2016 cap gives him leverage, since a 2017 franchise tag would be unpalatable for the Saints.
In a piece focusing on the three NFL teams with the worst salary cap situations, Joel Corry of CBSSports.com discusses the Saints, referring to Brees’ $30MM cap charge as “the elephant in the room.” Corry suggests New Orleans ought to restructure Cameron Jordan‘s contract, and adds that it may be time for the club to part ways with longtime Saints Marques Colston and Zach Strief.