Saints can clear a ton of cap space with two simple moves this offseason

New Orleans is in a cap bind, but it's not hopeless.

New Orleans Saints v Houston Texans
New Orleans Saints v Houston Texans / Cooper Neill/GettyImages
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Cut Ryan Ramczyk

No one on the Saints makes more money than Ramczyk, who signed a five-year, $96 million extension before the start of the 2022 season, making him the highest-paid right tackle in football. The big numbers start to kick in this season, when his cap hit balloons from $11 million (5% of the Saints' cap) to $27 million (10%). After that, the Saints are on the hook for $28 million in 2025, and $25 million in 2026.

Credit where it's due: Ramczyk's been good basically every year of his career. 2023 was his "worst" year to date, and it was still good: per PFF, he was still a plus player both in run and pass blocking. Among all tackles, his overall grade (73.5) still put him among the top 30 (26, to be specific), with both his run and pass block grades not far behind. He was also the 2nd best lineman on the Saints this season, ranking only behind center Erik McCoy.

So, it would be a bit of a surprising move. Elite tackles don't grow on trees, and even almost-elite tackles have a ton of value in today's NFL. Depending on the week, Ramczyk fits into one of those two categories, and there's certainly an argument to be made that he's worth the money. But with all that being said, he'll be 30 when next season starts, and is coming off two years of consecutive "decline" in play. If the Saints were to designate him a post-June 1 cut, it'd save them $17 million against the cap. Losing a player of his caliber would be tough, but probably not as tough as paying huge money, for multiple seasons, to a right tackle who's past his prime.