June 1 is here, but what does it mean for Drew Brees’ leftover salary cap hit?

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It wasn’t easy, but the New Orleans Saints cleared about $100 million to get beneath the depressed 2021 salary cap, and now more help is on the way. One avenue they took to get here was a reworked contract with Drew Brees early this spring, before he made his retirement official. Now that an important date on the NFL calendar is here, June 1 forecasts more cap savings for New Orleans.

Back in February, Brees and the Saints agreed to reduce his 2021 base salary to the NFL minimum, which introduced immediate savings of just under $24 million (lowering his 2021 cap hit from $36.15 million down to $12.225 million). On June 2, Brees’ reduced salary of $1.075 million will revert to the Saints in free cap space, though they’re still stuck with $11.15 million in dead money hits in both 2021 and 2022.

That’s not much, but every single dollar has been carefully counted and valued in New Orleans as the Saints continue to navigate the cap. The latest NFLPA public salary cap report has New Orleans under the cap by less than $350,000, so these additional resources from Brees’ retirement will go a long way. If nothing else, it should help them clear enough room to begin signing their draft picks.

With a handful of open roster spots still available (the NFLPA has the Saints with 86 of 90 positions filled), this could be what New Orleans needs to bring in more low-cost talent and round out the depth chart ahead of training camp. But bigger moves are still to come, like contract extensions that could lower the cap hits for Ryan Ramczyk ($11.064 million) and Marcus Williams ($10.612 million), among other veteran players. But as always, we should expect more surprises ahead for the Saints as the offseason marches on.