Andrus Peat, Malcolm Jenkins join growing list of Saints contract restructures

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John Sigler
·2 min read
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The New Orleans Saints stunned the NFL by using the franchise tag on pending free agent Marcus Williams, and now we have an idea of how they plan to pay for it. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday morning that the Saints have continued to restructure contracts with veteran players, creating $9.4 million in cap savings by redoing deals with guard Andrus Peat and safety Malcolm Jenkins.

Peat’s restructure netted more cap space out of the two moves, converting $8 million of his $9 million base salary into a signing bonus that was prorated over the remaining four years of his contract. That raises his salary cap hit by $2 million in 2022, 2023, and 2024, meaning the Saints can’t get out of his contract until 2023 at the soonest; his 2022 base salary will become fully guaranteed on March 20, giving him a cap hit next year of $15.45 million. In the meantime, his 2021 cap number falls from $11.6 million to just $5.6 million, saving $6 million.

Committing so heavily to a player who’s been a liability up front for much of his career while racking up injuries is a gamble, but the Saints put themselves in this position. They don’t really have another choice. Let’s hope it works out. I’ve written about the risks involved in these restructures recently, which you can read here.

As for Jenkins: he has a variety of bonuses to work with, but it appears the Saints reduced his $6.2 million base salary to $1.05 million and converted the difference into a signing bonus, spreading it out for accounting purposes in 2021, 2022, and 2023. The end result is lowering his 2021 cap hit from $8.95 million to $5.55 million, saving $3.4 million against the salary cap. They could cut or trade him in 2022 and recoup some meager savings, but if he’s still playing well as a leader in the secondary then it’s worth retaining him.

There’s plenty of more work to do. The Saints haven’t touched their highest-priced contracts with left tackle Terron Armstead or wide receiver Michael Thomas, but you have to think movement is coming on those fronts. After tagging Williams and incurring a new cap charge valued at roughly $10.5 million, they’re back up to around $60 million over the salary cap.


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A brief history of the Saints and the franchise tag