Saints salary restructuring and free agency goals – Crescent City Sports

(Photo: Parker Waters)

As I cleaned up my desk, I discovered what the Saints’ offseason moves might be, who they might be targeting, what a franchise tag represents for a tagged player, which school picked the most players in the NFL draft, and which NFL -Players have accumulated the most money.

Deep breath. Ah, that’s a lot. So let’s start.

NFL Free Agency opens March 16. What about Black and Gold?

Despite recent reshuffles by Michael Thomas, Ryan Ramczyk and Andrus Peat, the Saints are still more than $42 million over the 2022 salary cap. Other players Mickey Loomis could reshuffle include Taysom Hill ($7.7 million salary ), Cam Jordan ($10.9 million) and Marshon Lattimore ($18.5 million with a cap hit of $27,453,800).

A few who could be fired outright or reassigned are Mark Ingram ($2.2 million), Bradley Roby ($9.5 million salary with a cap hit of $10,169,475), and Malcolm Jenkins ($6,750.00 basis with a cap hit total of $11.7). Defensive tackle David Onyemata is worth a lot to the franchise, holding a hit $9,490,000 base and $26 million cap. Somehow they will find a way to keep him.

In fact, most Saints contracts are created with restructuring in mind. New Orleans will have breathing room at the end.

A few well-known Who-Dat names could find new residency in the NFL for 2022. Jameis Winston will most likely land a long-term deal elsewhere, along with more immediate cash than the financially strapped Saints can afford. He led the team to a 5-2 record before suffering a serious knee injury in Week 8.

Has Winston shown enough in the league to warrant huge interest? I think so, considering the list of teams in need of QB is longer than the list of available veteran candidates.

With that in mind, I’m confident the Saints will issue a draft pick for a QB this spring. It might not be a first-rounder, but some names to keep an eye on are Bailey Zappe (Western Kentucky), Cole Kelley (Southeastern La.) and Skylar Thompson (Kansas State) in the middle rounds.

Left tackle Terron Armstead turns 31 in July. He’s been a rock in the front for the Saints when healthy and a great presence in the dressing room, but the constant injuries are likely only to increase with age.

The former 2013 Saints third-round pick has earned $68 million over his nine seasons in the Saints’ colors. He pulled out $11 million last season and only played in eight games. Armstead has missed 25 competitions over the past four years.

Left tackles of this magnitude are hard to find. At this point in his career, he might have an opportunity to hit one final jackpot that might be a little too big for the Saints’ liking. The Dolphins ($61m below cap), the Jaguars ($56m) need to be strengthened on position along with the Bengals, Rams, Bears and Colts. Its market value could be anywhere in the four year range, $96 million with $55 million guaranteed.

Free safety Marcus Williams (6-1, 202) is a former second-round pick in 2017 who has amassed 318 tackles, 15 interceptions and 38 passes broken with New Orleans. He will only be 26 in September. Williams is someone the organization desires a lot, but so do many other NFL teams.

A franchise tag designation by the Saints would net the team $13,544,000 for 2022. The New York Jets, which are $42 million short of the ceiling, are said to have targeted Williams. Its projected value is close to $15 million per year. One would guess that the Saints will strike a long-term deal.

It will be interesting to see how the whole saga unfolds with Alvin Kamara. He has a base salary of $5.5 with a $6 million roster bonus for ’22. Get a $3 million prorated signing bonus and his tally jumps to $14.5 million. Next season it will be $14 million, followed by $14.8 million in 2024 and $25 million in 2025.

If Kamara were fired this offseason, there would be $20.5 million in dead money. His recent arrest could complicate things with his overall contract.

Kamara has 4,234 rushing yards with a 4.6/carry average with 47 touchdowns. He has 373 catches for 3,263 yards and added another 20 points. The former Tennessee standout will turn 27 in the 2022 season, his sixth in the league. He is invaluable to the organization. His arrest could result in a ban but parting with a player of his worth would be a very bitter pill for the Saints.

How many great seasons does Kaamra have left? Two? Three? The team doesn’t want to trade him, but everyone has their price.

Who will the Saints be looking to in free agency?

-TE Mike Gesicki (6-6, 250) Dolphins, listed among the top 3 TEs in the NFL in 2021, has clinched 126 passes for 1,483 yards and 8 touchdowns since 2020. He is thought to be searching in the $7-8 million a year range. Only 26 years old.

-DB Sidney Jones (6-0, 186, 4.47) Seahawks, 25 years old, 11 starts in Seattle last season. Improved his tackle. In his last four contests in 21, safety allowed for a paltry 58.3% completion rate and no touchdowns. A $2.2 million offer could secure him.

-DB Jayvon Kearse (6-4, 222) Dallas, 101 total tackles, 10 PBU and 2 interceptions in ’21, two touchdowns allowed. Also added 11 pressings in blitz packs. 28 years old. Extremely reliable tackler as a backup. Earned $1.1 million last season. I’m looking for 4 to 5 million dollars a year.

-TE Robert Tonyan (6-5, 237) Packer, 27 years old. Played in 51 games at Green Bay for 84 catches, 967 yards and 15 TDs. In 2020 he had 11 goal catches. After an injury, he was up for grabs for $5.5 million.

-QB Marcus Mariota (6-4,222) 28-year-old former 2014 Heisman winner. He was 36-5 as a starter for Oregon Ducks. Second overall pick by Titans in ’15. Used similarly to Taysom Hill by the Raiders for the past two seasons. Has 61 NFL starts. He is the first player in NFL history to rush for 250 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 100 yards in the same game. He’s probably looking for a fresh start. I’m guessing he’ll make between $5 million and $8 million

-RB James Connor (6-1, 233) Cardinals, 26, was a Steelers third-round pick in 2017. The two-time Pro Bowler has 3,054 rushing yards and 37 TDs over his five seasons. He adds 161 catches for 1,338 yards and seven points as a receiver. He attracts the interest of Cardinals, Steelers, Seahawks, bears, dolphins and jaguars. He signed a $1,750,000 contract last season.

– OLB Hassan Reddick (6-1, 235), Cardinals, 28 years old. He’s one of only five players to have 10 sacks in each of the past two seasons. He totaled 23.5 sacks in the last 2 years. He’s targeting a four-year, $68 million term with a $33.5 million guarantee.

-RB Darrel Williams (5-11, 225) bosses, 26 years old. Former John Ehrlich and LSU star. During his career, he has rushed for 912 yards and 10 touchdowns, plus 83 grabs, 762 yards and four other scores. Might be interested in a $2 million deal.

-DB Tyrann Mathieu, now 30, the Honey Badger enters his 10th season with 610 tackles and 26 interceptions. He earned $14.5 million in Kansas City last season. He is looking near a three-year, $45 million deal with a $28 million guarantee. The Saints might be ready to kick the hoops.

What positions are most coveted by NFL teams? Look at the Franchise Tag Amounts. The list tells the story.

1-QB $28,598,000
2-DE $20,186,000
3-WR $19,127,000
4 pounds $17,417,000
5-CB $17,295,000
6-DT $16,888,000
7-OL $16,698,000
8-security $13,544,000
9-RB $12,536,000
10-TE $10,834,000
11 Special Teams $5,469,000

According to Pro Football Focus, the schools with the most players drafted since 2000 are as follows:

Ohio-151, Alabama-137, LSU-133, Florida-125, Georgia-124, Miami-123, USC-117, Florida-113, Oklahoma-106 and Michigan-101.

Spotrac recently ranked the top 50 NFL players with the highest salary (cumulative total) during their careers. Some have local bindings:

1-Tom Brady (2000-2021) $293 million
2-Drew Brees (2001-2020) $269.7
3-Ben Roethlisberger (2004-2021) $267.3 million
4-Matt Ryan (2008-2021) $267 million
5-Aaron Rodgers (2005-2021) $263.3 million.
6-Eli Manning (2004-2019) $252.3 million
7-Peyton Manning (1998-2015) $248.7 million
9-Matthew Stafford (2009-2021) $239.3 million
11-Russell Wilson (2012-2021) 181.4 million
13-Carson Palmer (2004-2017) $174.1 million
16-Julius Peppers (2002-2018) $165 million
22-Brett Favre (1991-2010) $137.8 million
23-Cam Newton (2011-2021) $133.5 million
26-Tony Romo (2004-2016) $127.4 million
46-Andrew Whitworth (2005-2021) $107.4 million
50-Patrick Peterson (2011-2012) $102.76 million

Who is the fastest player in this year’s NFL draft? It’s Baylor cornerback Kalon Barnes (6-0, 186), a former Texas prep sprint champion, who turned a 10.22 time in the 100 yards.

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