We wrote earlier in the week that the Saints could be forced to part ways with LB Jonathan Vilma and DE Will Smith because of the salaries and the that they’re projected to be $16 million over the cap next season.
According to McIntyre’s sources, New Orleans could ask both players to take the league’s minimum base salary (Brees: $940,000; Evans:$840,000) and convert the rest of their 2012 salaries into a signing bonus that would clear up to $11.17 million in cap space. McIntyre adds that G Ben Grubbs and LB David Hawthorne also be approached about making the same kind of adjustments to their contracts.
OT Jermon Bushrod, DT Sedrick Ellis and C Brian De La Puente are all set to become free agents at the end of the season, with De La Puente being a restricted free agent. This means that the Saints will have to do everything in their power just to retain the players that currently have, but they clearly need upgrades at a number of positions.
Next year’s draft will be very important for them, but it will also be interesting to see how much salary they shed in the coming months.
We have Bushrod listed as the No. 26 best available player in our Top 50 Free Agents list.