Saints guaranteed every dollar of Chase Young’s $13 million contract

Whew. This is a big deal. The New Orleans Saints guaranteed every dollar of their $13 million contract with free agent defensive end Chase Young, as reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter and confirmed by CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson.

But as is always the case with this team, don’t expect that to mean a simple $13 million salary cap charge on their accounting books. Depending on how this deal is structured, Young’s cap hit for 2024 could be as low as $3.5 million. Here’s how the accounting would look with four “ghost years” set to void at the end of the 2024 league year:

  • 2024 salary: $1,125,000; signing bonus proration: $2,375,000

  • 2025 signing bonus proration: $2,375,000

  • 2026 signing bonus proration: $2,375,000

  • 2027 signing bonus proration: $2,375,000

  • 2028 signing bonus proration: $2,375,000

The risk in doing this is that the Saints would be left with a dead money cap charge of $9.5 million next offseason should Young not re-sign on a new deal.

But the Saints have shown us before they’re comfortable paying that if need be. Andrus Peat is counting against the cap by more than $13.6 million and Marcus Maye has a dead money hit of $8.1 million for 2024 — and they both visited the Tennessee Titans on Monday as free agents who the Saints chose to let go. They paid comparable dead money hits in 2023 for David Onyemata ($10.1 million) and Marcus Davenport ($7.6 million).

If this is the route the Saints go, choosing to create short-term flexibility while jeopardizing future cap resources, it’s only a problem if Young fails to perform as expected in 2024. If he turns out to be a free agent bust and both sides move on, well: the Saints will have bigger problems to worry about  than where 3.4% of their salary cap is going. It’ll mean the pass rush failed to show up, again, and that the team lost a lot of games. And that Dennis Allen probably isn’t their head coach anymore. So when you take a big-picture view, this isn’t as big a gamble for the Saints at it might look at first glance.

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire