The biggest story coming out of New Orleans this off-season is not another bounty scandal, but the New Orleans Saints cap situation.The Saints and general manager Mickey Loomis have been doing a great job in trying to get under the salary cap as they have restructured numerous contracts but they still have a little way to go. Specifically, it is estimated that the Saints are now only about $2.9 million over the salary cap.
With the Saints expected to make a few more cuts and not re-sign some other players, they could surely get under the salary cap. The Saints should eventually have some money to sign their marquee unrestricted free agent, left tackle Jermon Bushrod. The Saints have made it very clear that they want to retain Bushrod, but he is expected to get a big pay day.
If Bushrod is re-signed where does that leave restricted free agents like running back Chris Ivory? Ivory has said recently that he expects the Saints to offer him a restricted free agent tender that would keep him with the Saints for at least the upcoming season.
Many believe that the Saints will offer Ivory one of two options: a second-round tender that is a one-year contract worth about $2.023 million, or a no-compensation tender worth about $1.323 million for the year. The latter would save the Saints about $700,000 for their salary cap, but it would not guarantee that they get to keep Ivory.
If the Saints try to save money, they will almost definitely lose Ivory as he will test the open market. Ivory is too talented and another team will pick him up right away. For Ivory and the Saints, it will all come down to the money. Are the Saints willing to pay Ivory the $2.023 million to keep him this season? Or will the Saints risk him leaving for another team?
Ivory is a good running back but with their already-loaded backfield, the Saints have only used him as an insurance policy in recent seasons. The Saints could decide that Ivory’s talent is too much to let go of. However, don’t be too surprised if Ivory is not wearing black and gold next season.