Saints are clearing a ton of cap space but they are only making future years worse

The New Orleans Saints have cleared a ton of cap space through several restructured contracts, but they are only making life harder for their future self.
Wild Card Round - Minnesota Vikings v New Orleans Saints
Wild Card Round - Minnesota Vikings v New Orleans Saints / Sean Gardner/GettyImages

You know the feeling when you have a task to complete, but it’s getting late in the day and you’re getting tired? So you ultimately make the common mistake of saying, “I’ll do it in the morning.” Eventually, the morning comes and you hate past you for procrastinating and leaving present you with even more work to do. That common human experience is what the New Orleans Saints are doing on a larger level with their cap situation.

Just as they have in recent years, the Saints entered the offseason significantly over the salary cap. This time, New Orleans was around $80 million over the salary cap, the most in the NFL. In typical Saints fashion, though, they have already restructured several contracts, and are currently about $32 million over the cap.

Still with more work to do, the Saints will eventually get below the cap, they always do. However, it’s important to note that New Orleans isn’t getting away with anything. While the salary cap magic earns the front office yearly praise, as others point out that the salary cap is fake, the Saints are only delaying the inevitable. Eventually, the morning is going to come.

With each restructure, New Orleans is just making the cap situation for future season worse.

Saints’ salary cap magic is still hurting the team

This problem is best exemplified through Derek Carr’s contract. While his cap hits in 2023 and 2024 are only $7.2 million and $12.7 million, respectively, the number will be more than 50 million in 2025 and more than 60 million in 2026. Let’s not forget the $17.2 million in dead cap space on the books for the 2027 season.

Although it’s an extremely early projection, New Orleans is expected to have the least cap space in 2025, at a projected $48 million over the cap.

Eventually, the Saints will have to face the music and there will be three paths forward for New Orleans to chose from .The team will either have to accept a few down seasons, as it works to pay off its debts, moving on from all of the high-paid veterans, or the Saints could stay in this purgatory of mediocrity, not accomplishing anything but salary cap maneuvering.

The third path isn’t really one that New Orleans can chose, but one that the team would hope to walk down. That’s the of path of drafting a bunch of talented young players and pairing them with veterans who outperform their contract. If that happens, the Saints will remain competitive as they get the cap situation back on track.