Saints’ biggest salary cap hits entering 2022 season

·3 min read

There isn’t a team willing to do more to work around the salary cap than the New Orleans Saints. They often stretch the limits of what’s possible within the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement through creative (and often unorthodox) contract structures and restructures, maximizing their resources to field the most competitive team possible year in and year out. It’s what got them from being in the red by more than $70 million to cruising towards training camp with about $10 million to spend, having landed big free agent additions like Tyrann Mathieu and Jarvis Landry along the way.

Still, it’s jarring to see so many high-profile players listed with pedestrian salary cap hits, even knowing how the Saints got here. It’s important to remember that this is just the final accounting number for this fiscal year; most players are actually earning more than what’s listed on the books thanks to past restructures which converted hefty base salaries into signing bonuses. They still got their money, it’s just paid out differently, and in a way that keeps the Saints’ salary cap commitments more manageable — for now, at least. New Orleans will have more hurdles to cross in the future, but that’s a problem for another day. And it’s worth remembering how the Saints have kept working around it so far.

With that said: here are the 22 Saints players carrying salary cap hits valued at more than $3 million for 2022 (all contract numbers via Over The Cap):

WR Michael Thomas: $13,048,000

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, Pool

DE Cameron Jordan: $12,427,838

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

CB Marshon Lattimore: $8,999,317

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

RT Ryan Ramczyk: $8,476,321

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

LG Andrus Peat: $7,666,000

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

DT David Onyemata: $6,748,556

AP Photo/Derick Hingle

RB Alvin Kamara: $6,128,000

Max Becherer/The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate via AP

LB Demario Davis: $5,896,000

AP Photo/Derick Hingle

K Wil Lutz: $5,570,000

David Grunfeld/The Advocate via AP, Pool

TE/QB Taysom Hill: $5,125,000

AP Photo/Derick Hingle

S Malcolm Jenkins: $5,070,000*

AP Photo/Derick Hingle

Jenkins retired from pro football earlier this offseason after reducing his base salary to the league minimum, and the Saints are likely to process his contract as a post-June 1 cut just like they did with Drew Brees when he hung it up a few years back. This would save $1.12 million against the salary cap this year while lowering his cap hit to $3.95 million in both 2022 and 2023 (as that is what’s left over from his prorated signing bonus).

QB Jameis Winston: $4,000,000

Max Becherer/The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate via AP

WR Deonte Harty: $3,986,000

AP Photo/Derick Hingle

WR Chris Olave: $3,503,977

Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

RG Cesar Ruiz: $3,457,963

AP Photo/Derick Hingle

C Erik McCoy: $3,402,378

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

S Tyrann Mathieu: $3,400,000

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

OL James Hurst: $3,381,000

AP Photo/Derick Hingle

TE Nick Vannett: $3,300,000

AP Photo/Derick Hingle

DE Marcus Davenport: $3,009,447

AP Photo/Derick Hingle

WR Jarvis Landry: $3,000,000

AP Photo/Gregory Payan

QB Andy Dalton: $3,000,000

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

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