The New Orleans Saints could enter the 2020 offseason with multiple different mindsets.
The New Orleans Saints could think short term and go on a Super Bowl journey for one last time with Drew Brees, or they could move forward with Taysom Hill and hope for similar results. One result is currently a problem, the amount of cap space the Saints have.
The Saints currently have the sixth-worse cap situation, but there are a few things the Saints could do to help make that daunting number of just 9.3 million dollars seem a bit more appealing.
The Saints could restructure some contracts of guys who will be on the team for a while. Guys like Terron Armstead and Michael Thomas will likely be asked to restructure their deals so they can attain some valuable assets in free agency and re-sign some much-needed players.
Kicker Wil Lutz could also be asked to restructure his record-setting deal as he was made the league’s highest paid kicker last offseason.
Having team leaders free up cap space by restructuring their deals is extremely important to the process of freeing up some additional room as well as attaining valuable free agents this offseason.
When the new league year starts on March 18, 2020, the Saints will have multiple pathways to increase their cap space. Most of the concern starts at the quarterback position.
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Teddy Bridgewater is almost certainly out the door, and as we’re waiting for an answer from Drew Brees, it starts to make more sense to let him retire or sign a new deal.
The Saints could use the money that could be freed up to re-sign valuable guys like Vonn Bell and Taysom Hill and also potentially work out deals for guys like Alvin Kamara, Marcus Williams, and Marshon Lattimore who’s contracts are all set to expire following the 2020 season.
The Saints could also opt to release some veteran players to create a bit more flexibility. Three veteran players on the Saints are set to have their contracts expire in 2021 — cornerback Janoris Jenkins, cornerback Patrick Robinson, and linebacker Kiko Alonso.
The Saints should release all three of these players as opt to acquire younger and cheaper talent.
Janoris Jenkins was claimed off waivers from the New York Giants late last season in hopes of a legitimate Super Bowl run that faltered after the Saints lost in the Wild Card Round to the Minnesota Vikings. Jenkins, who will turn 32 in October, is the fifth highest salary cap hit on the Saints roster.
Releasing an older cornerback who may not be as productive in 2020 would free up 11.25 million dollars. Releasing Jenkins is an obvious cut to create more cap space and potentially sign a younger cornerback who could be far more effective.
The Saints should also cut ties with cornerback Patrick Robinson. Robinson, 32, has missed eighteen games over the past two seasons. Robinson, who has been ineffective in his second stint in New Orleans should be an obvious offseason cut as the team would free up an additional 3.65 million dollars.
It’s not a big difference but it all helps. The final cut the Saints should make is linebacker Kiko Alonso. Alonso, who will turn 30 in August, wasn’t really too effective in 2019 only mustering 31 tackles throughout the entire season.
Alonso tore his ACL for the third time in his career in 2019 and isn’t likely to rebound to his old self. With Alex Anzalone returning next year, cutting Alonso and freeing up eight million dollars makes total sense to me.