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METAIRIE, La. The New Orleans Saints moved more than $ 26 million in salary caps into the coming years by restructuring contracts for wide receiver Michael Thomas and offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk, a source told ESPN’s Field Yates on Saturday.
Expect several more of these moves in the coming days as New Orleans starts the offseason around $ 75 million above the expected 2022 salary cap of $ 208.2 million per team – the highest amount for any team in the NFL.
Thomas’ restructuring is particularly noteworthy, as it further indicates that New Orleans has no plans to swap its star receiver. The Saints converted $ 14.6 million of Thomas’ planned salary and list bonuses into a signing bonus, meaning they can spread the ceiling over the next five years. However, it also means they would be on the hook for all these charges against the ceiling this year if they traded Thomas.
Likewise, New Orleans converted $ 18.2 million of Ramczyk’s planned salary and guard bonuses into a signing bonus.
The good news for the Saints is that they have room to move more than $ 100 million in payroll costs into the coming years without cutting current players if they do not want to. Clearly, they will have to deal with these charges in future seasons. But this has been a common practice for the Saints over the past decade under General Manager Mickey Loomis and Vice President of Football Administration Khai Harley – and it has become more common throughout the league after the COVID-19 pandemic lowered the NFL’s ceiling by almost $ 16 million per team in 2021.
And the Loomis have made it clear this offseason that the Saints have no intention of rebuilding their roster despite Sean Payton’s decision to step down from coaching. The Saints say they can fight for the NFC South title under new coach Dennis Allen, who retained Pete Carmichael Jr. as their offensive coordinator and Ryan Nielsen and Kris Richard as their co-defensive coordinators.
It would not be surprising to see the Saints aim for the top of the quarterback market if superstars like Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson become available via trade.
Otherwise, they could make it a priority to try to re-sign some of their own prominent free agents, including quarterback Jameis Winston, left tackle Terron Armstead and safety Marcus Williams.