New Orleans Saints: Court, The Cap, And A Contract
By Keith Null
New Orleans Saints middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma is not taking his suspension lying down.
He has challenged Goodell’s authority to rule on the matter, brought forth a defamation suit, and filed for an injunction to block his suspension.
Up to this point he was the only member of the “condemned four” — Vilma, Will Smith, Scott Fujita, and Tony Hargrove — to challenge Roger Goodell and the NFL in a court of law.
That is until now.
Fujita, Smith, and Hargrove have jointly filed a lawsuit, very similar to Vilma’s, stating that Goodell unfairly judged the group while refusing to show them the “evidence” the NFL collected against them.
Essentially the players contest that Goodell violated the CBA by “smearing” there names in the media, while painting the men as guilty before any official hearing.
The NFL may have stubbornly refused to let the players named see any of the evidence because the evidence against them is circumstantial at best.
In fact the authenticity of some of the documents, as well as audio evidence of Hargrove saying “Give me my money” after finding out Brett Favre was injured, has been discredited.
Goodell himself has said some of the evidence is likely fake, and that he has no way of proving otherwise.
For now the four players remain suspended while facing a lengthy up-hill battle that will still likely not end in their favor.
To no one’s surprise, the New Orleans Saints have the least amount of cap space in the NFC South at meager $2.16 million.
That number makes it immediately more impressive that the Saints were able to go out in free agency and sign Brodrick Bunkley, Curtis Lofton, David Hawthorne, and Chris Chamberlain.
New Orleans also has all their rookies signed, with exception to fourth round pick wide receiver Nick Toon.
But fans are still concerned with Drew Brees new contract, even though the current cap number included a projected salary of close to $16-million for him already.
The Saints and Drew Brees have until the leagues deadline of July 16th to reach a new agreement, or he will be forced to play under the franchise tag.
Brees would then be guranteed a $16.4-million dollar salary in 2012.
That number would appear to be more in the Saints favor, but appearances can be deceiving.
Brees recently won a hearing for the right to be called a double franchise tag player, having already been tagged by the San Diego Chargers in 2005.
What that meas for the Saints is that if they were to franchise him again after this season, Brees would be due a whopping 144% pay increase as three-time tagged player.
In that case Brees could potentially make $25-million guaranteed for the 2013 season.
However multiple reports have surfaced that indicate the Saints have an offer of $19 to $20 million dollars on the table for Brees, a contract that would make him the highest paid player ever in the NFL.
The deal is said to be for five-years and clearly worth over $100 million.
News of this new deal has sparked the rumor that Brees is tantalizingly close to signing, which still begs the questions of just where the Saints are getting the money.
The reality is no one cares, as long as he gets signed in time for training camp, fans surely aren’t worried about the origin of the money.
New Orleans is without head coach Sean Payton, who was suspended for one-year as a “bounty” penalty.
Getting Drew Brees back is huge for this team and instantly makes the competitive once again for the NFC South crown as well as a fourth consecutive play-off appearance.