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News » Not much wiggle room under cap for Saints


Not much wiggle room under cap for Saints


Not much wiggle room under cap for Saints
As of Tuesday, the Saints were $2,206,125 below the salary cap, the third-smallest margin in the NFL, according to league sources.


That figure accounts for 62 players under contract -- though only the top 51 salaries are counted against the cap at any given time.

Fullback Heath Evans' new two-year deal is not included in the amount because it has not yet been processed. But the tenders the Saints made to their restricted free agents are taken into account, even though they have not been signed yet.

Only Carolina ($24,042) and Baltimore ($1,940,557) have less cap room than the Saints. Tampa Bay has the most room under the cap -- $39,816,570, according to league sources.

The league-wide salary cap was set at $127.05 million per team this year, but each team's cap figure varies based on league credits and penalties from previous years. The Saints have one of the highest cap figures to work with, thanks to $12,983,735 in league credits. That brings their cap number to $140,033,735, of which they have allocated $137,827,610.

Of course, they can still subtract from their current cap figure by releasing players or restructuring contracts. League sources confirmed that they have already restructured defensive tackle Brian Young's contract, among others, that have not been announced.

A breakdown of three of the Saints' most recent contracts, according to league sources:

-- Linebacker Jonathan Vilma signed a five-year, $34 million deal, of which $17 million is guaranteed in the first two years. His contract includes a signing bonus of $6 million and a base salary of $3.3 million in 2009. He is scheduled to receive $7.97 million in salary and bonuses in 2010, $5.23 million in 2011, $5.5 million in 2012 and $6 million in 2012.

-- Cornerback Jabari Greer signed a four-year, $22 million contract, of which $10 million is guaranteed. His contract includes a signing bonus of $3 million and calls for annual base salaries of $3 million in 2009 (guaranteed), $3.6 million in 2010 (guaranteed), $4.5 million in 2011 ($400,000 guaranteed) and $5.4 million in 2012. Other bonuses bring the contract to $22 million.

-- Receiver Devery Henderson signed a four-year deal worth $12 million, of which $6 million is guaranteed. His contract includes a signing bonus of $3.5 million and calls for annual base salaries of $1.5 million in 2009 (guaranteed), $1.8 million in 2010 ($1 million guaranteed), $2.25 million in 2011 and $2.65 million in 2012.

Cowboys SIGN SENSABAUGH: The Saints lost one of their options at free safety Tuesday when free-agent Gerald Sensabaugh agreed to a one-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys.

The Saints showed early interest in Sensabaugh, who played for new Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams last season in Jacksonville. But they only wanted him if he came at the right price, and Dallas apparently came through with a better offer.

Sensabaugh's agent, Kevin Conner, said Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis and front-office executive Khai Harley were "consummate professionals" throughout the negotiating process and that Williams was a "strong advocate for Gerald."

But, Conner said, "After weighing each option, we felt like the terms and length of this deal were more favorable for Gerald at this point in his career."

The Saints were looking for a three-year deal, but Sensabaugh, 25, preferred a one-year deal, which gives him a chance to improve his stock and enter the market again next season.

It's possible that the Saints didn't consider him the ideal fit for their needs. They are in the market for a ball-hawk on the back end. Although Sensabaugh played free safety last season, he was considered a strong safety when he entered the league from North Carolina.

He also has had some off-field issues related to traffic and weapons violations, including an arrest earlier this offseason, which certainly could have hurt his value in the open market.

Veteran safety Darren Sharper remains an option for the Saints. He's the only other safety known to have visited the club during free agency.

FREE AGENTS VISIT: The Saints brought tight end Darnell Dinkins in for a visit Tuesday night, his agent Andy Benedict confirmed. Dinkins, 32, is a veteran role player who stands out more as a blocker and special teams player than as a receiver. He has 25 receptions for 228 yards and three touchdowns in his six-year career with the Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens and New York Giants.

The Saints wrapped up their visit with free-agent defensive tackle Shaun Cody on Tuesday. He left town without a contract.

. . . . . . .

Jeff Duncan contributed to this report. Brian Allee-Walsh can be reached at ballee-walsh@timespicayune.com or at 504.826.3805. Mike Triplett can be reached at mtriplett@timespicayune.com or 504.826.3405.



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 11, 2009

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Ricky Williams Name: Ricky Williams
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