Saints DE Smith will be back only at reduced rate

Posted Dec. 30, 2012 @ 2:30 p.m.
Posted By Dan Parr

The Saints put questions about Sean Payton’s future to rest with the announcement of his new contract, and one of the next big issues for the team to tackle will be its salary-cap situation.

GM Mickey Loomis will not be able to just nibble around the edges to make the team cap compliant this offseason. The Saints are going to have to cut significant salary off the books just to get to the cap, which is expected to be around $121 million (the Saints have about $136 million committed to next year’s cap).

Some might be ready to write off DRE Will Smith as a goner —he’s due $9 million plus a $1 million bonus and has a cap figure of $14.5 million in 2013. If he doesn’t agree to restructure his contract, it’s highly likely that he will be released, but the possibility of Smith agreeing to a drastic pay cut in order to stay with the Saints should not be ruled out, we hear.

It will be no surprise if the Saints do make an effort to keep Smith in the fold. Evaluators say the team does not have a better option to start at right end on the roster, and the Saints are unlikely to have the salary-cap flexibility to compete for one of the better players available at the position in free agency.