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Nov 25, 2010; Arlington, TX, USA; New Orleans Saints guard Jahri Evans (73) against the Dallas Cowboys in the first quarter at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE

New Orleans Saints guard Jahri Evans restructures contract to help free cap space

The New Orleans Saints managed to get some much needed help with the cap space situation.

According to ESPN’s NFL Insider Adam Sheftner, guard Jahri Evans, who signed a seven-year, $56.7 million contract in 2010 that made him the highest-paid guard in the league at the time, has restructured his contract.

The restructuring saves the Saints $2 million in salary cap space.

The only other member of the black and gold to restructure so far to help the team was defensive end Will Smith.

Smith restructured the contract extension he signed in 2008 started in 2009, This allows the Saints to spread his cap hit across the final three seasons of the contract, reducing his cap hit from $10.15 million to close to $5 million.

He was set to have a base salary of $7 million for the 2012 season.

By doing this, the Saints saved $4.78 million in cap space in 2012, according to

The Saints would have saved $6.15 million by released Smith outright.

Reports vary on how much the New Orleans Saints are under the cap exactly, but they are between $17 million and $22 million an assumed $120 million dollar cap by the league, with the Evans and Smith restructures.

The official salary cap for the 2012 NFL season is expected to be announced sometime today.

With 15 free agents this offseason, including star quarterback Drew Brees, talented guard Carl Nicks, and wide receiver Marques Colston the Saints desperately need to restructure some contracts if they have any hopes of re-signing any of the free agents.

Players that should be expected to be contacted for restructured contracts due to high cap hits in 2012, are players like OT Jermon Bushrod ($6.7 million), MLB Jonathan Vilma ($6.6 million), DT Sedrick Ellis ($6.2 million), CB Jabari Greer ($6.1 million), and WR Lance Moore ($4.6 million).

Should these players restructure to help the team, it would put them in good shape to re-sign all the players needed and be able to spread the wealth around.

Below is the free agent list for this offseason:

John Kasay, kicker; Drew Brees, quarterback; Shaun Rogers, defensive tackle; John Gilmore, tight end; Aubrayo Franklin, defensive tackle; Marques Colston, receiver; Pat McQuistan, offensive line; Courtney Roby, receiver; Leigh Torrence, cornerback; Jeff Charleston, defensive end; Turk McBride, defensive end; Robert Meachem, receiver; Jo-Lonn Dunbar, linebacker; Carl Nicks, guard; Tracy Porter, cornerback

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Tags: 2012 NFL Free Agency Adam Sheftner Aubrayo Franklin Carl Nicks Courtney Roby Drew Brees Jeff Charleston Jo-Lonn Dunbar John Gilmore John Kasay Leigh Torrence Marques Colston New Orleans Saints Pat McQuistan Robert Meachem Shaun Rogers Tracy Porter Turk McBride Will Smith

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