• Philip Darrow

CAP Space Analysis: New Orleans Saints

Twitter: @philip_darrow

Dynasty is all about looking for a way to stay ahead of your league mates and finding that edge to help you gain even the smallest advantage. Super Star players we know will be there barring a trade but what we will be looking at is what happens when a team must account for the cap after years of kicking the can down the road. This year is going to provide an even bigger challenge for some teams as they look to adjust to the Covid cap of $185 million only down $10 million from this past year. Let’s take a deeper look at the team affected the most by this in the New Orleans Saints.

They went all in to try and get Drew Brees one last title before he retires and it appears, we have seen him take his last snap for them after this injury-filled year. With that in mind let’s see how they can attach their current Salary Cap position of being approximately $74,625,892 million over the projected cap in 2021.

Now, this is not necessarily what they will do but can provide us a blueprint to what they might do and help highlight come key opportunities to buy cheaply, some players who could make an impact this next year.

Players the Saints are paying that will not be on the roster in 2021: Jared Cook; Drew Brees; Sheldon Rankins

If they were to make every move as listed here, they can take their $74 plus million deficit and come out with just over $31 million in cap room to allow them to sign some cheaper vets to replace those they lose and have money for rookie picks. Realistically though, I do not see them extending Taysom Hill, so this leaves them with a little over $22 million then in cap room with no extension for him. Payton has built a great defense and I do not expect this to change. I believe they will focus this offseason on rebuilding the offense while allowing their D to keep them close in games as they move forward.

There is also the factor of repeat Covid violations, thanks to Kamara, that could result in more draft picks lost (they already lost their 7th round pick).

So here are some moves that I think they will look to make to change this roster in the post - Drew Brees era.

They have noted they wish to bring in another QB and are interested in getting Winston signed to another deal. They had him on the cheap for just over $1 million and let’s assume they get him to sign another one-year deal for $3-5 million or a two-year deal for around $10 (for comparison Mariota signed with the Raiders a 2-year deal for $17.6 million and Chase Daniel in Det averages $4.35 million a year). This would allow them competition with Taysom as he does not appear to be the long-term starter.

  1. Winston was a top QB until he couldn’t stop turning it over, now that he had a year with Payton, I suspect he could come in and make a huge difference making this offense look like it has under Brees. Winston can be had relatively cheaply in 1 QB leagues and the cost in SF is a great upside play. I think a 3rd for 1 QB and a mid to late 2nd for SF should get the deal done before he is signed somewhere. The moment he signs his value is likely to jump.

  2. Next, Trautman steps in as the main TE with whomever they add in FA or the draft which likely leaves him as the TE1 on this roster. Trautman is the forgotten TE as Cook was the clear TE1 and did not give him much playing time as the vet gelled with Brees. He could be had for a late 3rd or early 4th with high upside potential. Could see him as a top 15 TE and that is not a lot to pay for that type of player especially one that is only 23 years old.

  3. With E. Sanders likely being cut or traded along with their other FAs you have: Michael Thomas, Marquez Callaway, Tre’Quan Smith, Deonte Harris, and Lil’Jordan Humphrey as the WRs. They could look to try and sign a vet like Keelan Cole or Tim Patrick to pair with a rookie in this deep class. I suspect they look for a short-term deal for any vet without a lot of risks and add a WR with one of their compensatory picks at the end of the 3rd. This allows Marquez Callaway and Tre’Quan Smith the chance to step up into larger roles in this offense. Both can be had for cheap (late 4th or 5th round rookie picks likely or even might be on waivers for free right now) and if either step into a larger role they could be someone you can use next year and possibly turn for a profit late in the year to another team to upgrade another position in a deal.

Saints Draft Picks

Round 1 pick 28

Round 2 pick 60

Round 4 pick 124

Projected To Get:

Round 3 Compensatory (Teddy Bridgewater) 97-105

Round 3 Compensatory (executive diversity) 97-105

Round 6 Compensatory (AJ Klein) 200+