Saints restructured Andrus Peat’s contract, saving $7.8 million in cap space

In addition to revised contracts with wide receiver Michael Thomas and offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that the New Orleans Saints also restructured their contract with Andrus Peat to work toward salary cap compliance. Peat’s restructuring has freed up approximately $7.8 million from the 2022 salary cap.

Taken with the $26.2 million wiped out in reorganizations involving Thomas and Ramczyk, and that’s about $34 million taken off the books on a lazy Saturday afternoon between Mardi Gras parades. If Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis can hurry, he might be around in time to catch Endymion as it rolls off.

How did the saints do it? Thanks to the analysts’ coverage at Above the cap, we can see the Saints cut Peat’s 2022 base salary (which was already fully guaranteed) from over $10.8 million to the veteran’s minimum of about $1.1 million and the difference into one converted into a signing bonus, which will count towards the remaining years remaining in his contract. For the math to add up, the Saints must have added two blank years to his contract, which was due to expire after the 2024 season anyway.

The downside to this, however, is that Peat has capped at $18.3 million for 2023. If he plays well and avoids injury, nobody cares and the Saints are likely to reorganize him again in 2023 (like they did in 2022 and 2021). With the salary cap expected to go to the moon next year as new media rights deals add money to the NFL coffers, Peats’ specific cap hit will be even less of a deal. But injuries and underplay have dogged him throughout his career and there’s some risk here. As things stand, the Saints will not save any significant cap space in peat mining until after June 1, 2023.

So let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. Right now, the Saints are still above their 2022 cap (set at $208.2 million) by about $42.2 million compared to the $76 million albatross they started with. And while that may seem like a lot, they only have a few simple steps left before they meet the cap: restructuring cornerback Marshon Lattimore’s contracts (saving up to $18.4 million), quarterback Taysom Hill (7 $.2 million) and running back Alvin Kamara ($6.4 million) gets them most of the way there.

Making a decision about backup corner Bradley Roby (letting him off his contract, raking in over $9.4 million) leaves the Saints about $800,000 over the cap, and then they’re in the clear. At this point, New Orleans can address expensive veterans like defensive end Cameron Jordan, linebacker Demario Davis, safety Malcolm Jenkins, and defensive tackle David Onyemata harder. Simple reorganizations create immediate leeway but make those contracts harder to get out of if the player’s performance falters with age. And in the case of Onyemata, a real expansion might be better than another reshuffle.

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