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Kristian Garic

Talk sports and more with Kristian and Seth Dunlap on "Double Coverage!" 

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Twitter: @kristiangaric
Email: kristian@wwl.com

Kristian: Restructure Brees? Not so simple, and awfully risky

Should the Saints restructure Drew Brees' contract?  No.

With the help of our Saints Radio Statistician Brian Duvall, we explored the idea of restructuring Brees' deal to provide the Saints with some much needed salary cap relief.  Brees' cap figure for the 2013 season is $17.4 million, meaning that's how much of his pay the Saints have to include when calculating how much he counts against the approximately $120 million cap for NFL teams. 

The Saints are roughly 10 million dollars over cap.  The deadline to get under the salary cap is March 12th, the start of free agency and the new league year. 

The Saints are reportedly trying to restructure contracts for defensive end Will Smith and linebacker Jonathan Vilma.  While those moves would provide some relief, it's not going to fix the cap situation the Saints are in now.  On the surface it looks as though a restructure of Brees' contract would do wonders for the Saints. 

Not so fast! 

The Saints could convert $8.8 million of his $9.75 million base salary for 2013 to guaranteed pay out... making his 2013 salary at the 10 year plus veteran minimum of $940k. That move would drop the cap number by $6.6 million.  Pretty nice right?  Wait, there is a significant catch. 

The $8.8 million would then be spread out over the remaining 4 years of the contract, making his 2014 cap hit an eye popping $20.6 million.  In 2015 it would balloon to $28.6 million, and in the final year (2016) his cap figure would be $29.6 million.  Each year it grows by 2.2 million for a guaranteed pay out.  Under this scenario Brees would not lose any money, but it could increase the chances of him getting... yes ... released... gasp!  See where I am going here?  The Saints are pretty much stuck with that record breaking deal of a year ago.

The salary cap is not expected to expand robustly until 2015, when new TV contracts kick in from the new CBA.   If the Saints restructured Brees' deal as proposed in this scenario, he would account for 30% of cap space for the next 2 years.  OUCH!  That is if they restructure his 2013 base salary.  Furthermore, if the Saints restructure Brees' 2013 base salary, and convert it to guaranteed payment, it would very likely increase the chance Brees would NOT finish his career in a Saints uniform. Ultimately this would alter the course of the Saints for the next four years. 

So the question now becomes: Get rid of Smith and Vilma if they don't restructure?


Safety Roman Harper carries a hefty price tag at $7.1 million for 2013.  The high profile veteran is likely on his way out the door without restructuring the Brees contract.  It's either that or you say good-bye to Brees in 2 years when he's 36 and has a cap hit of 28.6 million in 2015. 

You see? 

The Saints pretty much have no choice but to absorb the 17.4 million price tag for Brees.  It doesn't look like a restructure is likely. 

What's the Saints best move at this point? 

Don't even touch the Brees contract.  I'm not the numbers guy that Mickey Loomis is, I'm not trained in that field, but I'm sure he'll find a way to make it work. 

However, from this radio guys chair it doesn't look like the Saints can get relief from a reworked Brees deal. 

I would like to again thank Brian Duvall (Saints Radio Statistician) for contributing to this report.


Tags :  
Topics : Religion_Belief
Social :
People : Brian DuvallDrew BreesJonathan VilmaMickey LoomisWill Smith

02/20/2013 8:53AM
Kristian: Restructure Brees? Not so simple, and awfully risky
Please Enter Your Comments Below
02/20/2013 9:57AM
baby elephants are cool
Can't Harper just restructure rather than being on his way out the door?
02/20/2013 10:16AM
Can they change the length of the contract?
Question, could Brees accept a new contract that extends his association with the Saints a year, keeps the current total payout, but without additional compensation other than the league minimum for the out-year and by affect, reduces the per year cap hit?
02/20/2013 10:51AM
get rid of haper
Let harper go..he slow and cant cover, let a young buck come in and play his spot..dont touch brees contract..he needs to retire a saints..he as meant everything to the saints..so harper, vilma and maybe smith need to go...
02/20/2013 11:27AM
salary Cap issues
I think harper, will smith and vilma all need to be fired. they have not produced enough between the three of them to keep any of them. vilma has great instincts but he is old. will smith has not had a 7 plus sack season since ? who knows. harper is overpaid the guy cant cover consistently and everybody knows it but him. we need to clean slate and train up some new pieces. the problem with getting veterans is they get comfortable. fire everybody!!!
02/20/2013 11:59AM
Rod Guidry in Sacramento
Don't touch Drew's, trade Bushrod, and get something for him. You can get a good tackle in the 5th round.
02/20/2013 12:07PM
get rid of henderson
Get rid of henderson to..drops to many passes...and find a better wide out to play alongside colston
02/20/2013 1:03PM
does this make since
i think we should let will smith go give junior gallet a chance. let Roman harper go maybe go after ed reed he still playing at a high level. or Charles woodson he gonna come cheap or laron laundry. please let devery Henderson go we have a lot of great young receivers. i think its time to part ways with jabri Greer that would free up cap space he clearly loss a step. let go cory white Scott shanell..
02/20/2013 1:47PM
No cap room,
Henderson is a FA, wont be resigned,Shanle same. We cant trade Bushrod, he is UFA. White is in his 2nd year, he got talent, not going anywhere. You say we got no cap, but you want to sign Woodson and Reed? LOL.
02/20/2013 2:02PM
how bout this
because if we let go Greer and harper that would free up more than enough cap space to pursue a safety after march 12. like i said Charles woodson gonna come cheap because we older coming off a season ending injure..
02/20/2013 5:33PM
cap room
Greer still can play..he wasnt da problem..it wuz the safety play, harper, smith, and vilma...vilma cant play in a 3-4 defense thats y he left da jets...give
02/20/2013 6:27PM
Harped sucks
Give him $$ to leave
02/20/2013 7:22PM
bushrod is as good as gone
We cant trade bushrod his contract is up..he will be free agent
02/21/2013 12:57AM
Pay drew
pay Brees get rid of anyone that dose not commit like him!!! If a beer man can make history,just think what a EX-con line could do,and they work cheap?
02/21/2013 1:00AM
Pay drew
pay Brees get rid of anyone that dose not commit like him!!! If a beer man can make history,just think what EX-prisonier line could do,and they work cheap?
02/21/2013 11:28AM
Who will be the NT. Hicks???
02/21/2013 3:46PM
what to do?
leave brees be. they need to cut some def players restructure then trade will smith and roman harper. I'd keep vilma because he can still be the middle lb in a 3-4 with lofton is interesting. with junior galettte and martez wilson being outside rushers along with cam jordan should create alot of pressure assuming they draft some dt's. sign henderson to a 2 year deal he still can fly maybe bring in the honey badger for more pressure on third down. free agency should be quiet as we have to resign jimmy soon. but cut down and bring in defensive tackles are very important if they are gonna do anything defensively this year.
02/21/2013 5:43PM
Get rid of Smith, Vilma, and Harper !!!
02/22/2013 6:38PM
Brees needs total restructure because he is over rated.Yes he won a superbowl but he didn,t win it alone. Brees can play a win alone.
02/23/2013 8:33AM
knowing football
Some people know football and some just watch it.u can tell by so of the comments
02/23/2013 8:53PM
Brees is over rated?
Back to Back 5000 yd seasons . Your a doush
02/24/2013 9:48AM
Wanted defense
Let Smith stay, Trade Harper and Vilma for a pick or player and draft a DB.
02/24/2013 11:11AM
wanted defense
I say later for smith vilma harper shanle herring ellis henderson and trade ivory for a linebacker or safety put a solid draft together and we will be fine
02/24/2013 11:56AM
Brees contract
Breeze probably won't see the last two years of his contract anyway. The NFL is a business, the saints will cut him or force him to renegotiate.
02/25/2013 1:33PM
reno jim
Please, please send Harper DTR, although he's a great run stopper, he is and always has been a step slow in a very weak backfield, and opponents relish when he sits back WAY too far off the line.
02/26/2013 1:57PM
franchise bushrod
Let harper and smith go smith is hot garbage and is payed like a pro bowler to be honest keep ivory and trade ingram Trent Richardson shows who is the better bama back
03/02/2013 9:29PM
Release vilma, smith, Harper
This would provide the relief needed while getting rid of personnel that doesn't fit the 3-4 defense. Also, with the restructures earlier in the week, we can go after a rush LB n maybe even a 2 yr deal for Ed Reed
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