Top 10 Salary Cap Hits Facing the 2020 New Orleans Saints
The final window could be dwindling for the New Orleans Saints to win a Super Bowl. While they've turned in three very strong regular season campaigns with three straight NFC South titles to show for, the playoffs have proved troublesome. Expectations are still high going into the new season, but some of the faces will undoubtedly be different.
According to Spotrac, the team currently has an estimated $12.46 million in salary cap space for the new season, a figure which will surely change. The NFL has yet to set the salary cap for the new season, but the initial estimates from the beginning of December came in between $196.8 million to $201.2 million. Here's a look at the top cap charges New Orleans faces in 2020.
Drew Brees, QB
Cap Hit: $21.3 million ($10.5 million in signing bonus + $5.4 million restructure bonus)
Notes: As it has been the case in previous years, Drew Brees will take his time to make a decision on his next move. Although speculation will run rampant regarding his future, the reality is that Brees should be playing football in 2020, and it should be with the Saints. Brees' contract is currently set to count as dead money, as the deal will void on March 18, 2020 when the new league year starts. Brees cannot be franchise tagged, and should a contract be reached prior to the new league year, then dead money will be avoided. What likely happens will see the Saints likely put in a new deal that pays Brees somewhere between $25-28 million annually, and tacks on more dummy years to spread the charges.
Terron Armstead, OT
Cap Hit: $15.9 million
Base Salary: $10.7 million
Notes: Armstead will turn 29 in July, and is currently set to count at 7.9 percent of the team's salary cap in 2020. He's currently contracted through 2021, and would likely see some of his 2020 cap shifted into the final year of his deal to help make space for the Saints. Armstead is due a $500,000 roster bonus on March 20th. In 2019, Armstead appeared in the most regular season games of his career at 15, which was his most since 2015 (13). When healthy, there's few better protecting the Saints' blindside.
Michael Thomas, WR
Cap Hit: $15 million
Base Salary: $11 million
Notes: 'Can't Guard Mike' cashed in on a 5-year, $100 million contract extension prior to training camp last year, and is currently 7.4 percent of the team's salary cap. Of course, his price tag looks great given his production. The Saints could do a couple of things to help create space through Thomas, which would include possibly converting some of the base salary to a signing bonus (that would also elevate the cap number in future years). The craziest part of Thomas' $15 million cap hit is that it's only 9th-highest among all wide receivers in 2020.
Larry Warford, OG
Cap Hit: $12.875 million
Base Salary: $7.65 million
Notes: Warford enters the final year of his contract in New Orleans after coming over from the Detroit Lions in 2017. He's currently 6.4 percent of the 2020 cap for the Saints, and they'd still be on the hook for $4.375 million in bonuses if they felt compelled to move on. Warford will turn 29 in June, and has been playing at a high level for New Orleans. He also has a $750,000 roster bonus owed to him on the third day of the new league year.
Janoris Jenkins, CB
Cap Hit: $11.25 million
Base Salary: $10.15 million
Notes: The Saints claimed Jenkins after the New York Giants released him, which also made them absorb his contract. Jenkins got better and better with each game he appeared in, and did a phenomenal job on Stefon Diggs in the Wild Card round. As of right now, Eli Apple is set to become an unrestricted free agent and they also have to worry about losing Vonn Bell. There's a host of cornerbacks set to make well over $10 million next season, and it's hard to say that Apple would cash in on that rich of a deal despite being a good option opposite of Marshon Lattimore. Perhaps something in the $5-8 million range would be ideal for him, but it's hard to say that the Saints look at paying that. As for Jenkins, he knows this could come down to being a business decision, but remains hopeful to be in the Saints plans for 2020. He'll turn 32 in October.
The Rest of the Top Hits
Demario Davis, LB - $9.9 million ($7.35 million base)
Jared Cook, TE - $9 million ($7 million base)
Cameron Jordan, DE - $8.347 million ($1.5 million base)
Sheldon Rankins, DT - $7.69 million (all base)
Kiko Alonso, LB - $6.4 million ($6.375 million base)