Rumor has it that Brees’ new deal will be close to or north of $100 million, and $12 to $15 million a season.
Given that Nicks should be north of $50 million, and Colston north of $50 million, both should make at least $4 million or more a year — so where do the Saints get the money?
New Orleans is currently running at $94 million dollars toward the 2012 NFL cap number of $120 million, that’s $12 million less than what their number was originally reported to be at $106 million, but that was counting Brees’ $12 million dollar salary that has already been voided.
There is some room for them to maneuver, but don’t be surprised if the Saints start cutting some higher priced veterans to clear some cash.
Defensive end Will Smith is set to make a $7 million dollar base salary for the upcoming season, the highest of any Saints player not named Drew Brees.
At 31 Smith is beginning to slow, and his inconsistent play — 13 sacks in 2009 followed by 5.5 in 2010 and 6.5 last season — could be cause for the Saints to want to make a change on the right side of the defensive line.
It’s possible as well that the Saints already have his replacement on the roster.
Defensive end Gregg Romeus signed a four-year, $2.08 million dollar contract as a seventh round draft pick last year.
Romeus was considered by many to be a first round talent out of Pittsburgh, but knee and back injuries killed his draft stock.
Now healed, and currently being groomed at the NFL level, his potential is undeniable in Steve Spagnuolo’s new defense.
There are a few other veteran players who could be in danger of getting released.
Jabari Greer is the teams best corner, but he is scheduled to make a $5.4 million base salary in 2012.
Spagnuolo is also known to covet bigger corners, which Greer is not at 5 foot 11 inches and 180 pounds.
His salary is the second highest on the team behind Smith, followed closely by linebacker Jonathan Vilma ($5.4M base) and defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis ($4.31M base).