The new league year and NFL free agency began on March 12th. The New Orleans Saints made some crucial moves to get under the salary cap.
The Saints were $6.6 million over the salary cap and began to free up space by releasing linebacker Will Herring. That cleared about $1.6 million in cap space.
Herring’s production wasn’t all too great with the Saints and his departure clears the way for the team to truly begin upgrading their dismal linebacking corps.
After months of speculation, defensive end Will Smith and linebacker Jonathan Vilma have accepted pay cuts to remain with the team. According Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, their restructured contracts do place the team under the salary cap but exact figures have not been released at this time.
Vilma originally held a cap figure of $8.6 million with a base salary of $4.8 million. Smith held a cap number of $14.5 million with a $9 million base salary.
Coach Sean Payton went on the record of saying he wanted them back for the Saints switch to a 3-4 defense for the 2013 season. Apparently Payton gets, what Payton wants.
UPDATE: Will Smith’s base salary was lowered from $9 million to $3 million. Vilma’s was decreased from $4.8 million to $1 million.