Saints are likelier to extend Demario Davis’ contract than trade him

Could the New Orleans Saints trade Demario Davis? That’s what Jason La Canfora is reporting for the Washington Post, chalking it up to the team’s complicated salary cap situation.

“The Saints are pushing to find a trade partner for cornerback Marshon Lattimore and linebacker Demario Davis, two linchpins of their defense, according to people in the industry,” La Canfora wrote.

Davis currently has a salary cap hit north of $18.1 million, third-highest on the team, and trading him would only save about $4.9 million.  He’s the NFL’s oldest starting linebacker at 35 but he’s won four consecutive spots on the Associated Press’ All-Pro team, with back-to-back appearances at the Pro Bowl Games. He hasn’t slowed down yet.

If they’re so worried about the cap (and they aren’t; New Orleans’ reported moves have them in the red by just $10.9 million) the Saints would save almost twice as month money with a standard restructure: $8.09 million. And they’d still have Davis on the roster. He is entering the final year of his deal so there’s a risk of him leaving a lot of dead money behind next year by taking that route.

Which brings us to the possibility of an extension. Cutting a new deal with Davis would save even more money (around $8.6 million) by redoing his contract and spreading his already-guaranteed money out while insuring he’ll get to retire in black and gold. That’s the approach they took with Tyrann Mathieu (and Cameron Jordan last summer), and it makes sense to use the same mechanisms with Davis. He’s an important leader and playmaker on their defense.

You should never say never in the NFL, but the money alone makes trading Davis a bad idea for the Saints. Combine that with his contract status, his still-impressive level of play, and the options available to them and it’s tough to draw the same conclusions La Canfora came away with. The only certainty is that Davis can’t be playing for New Orleans this year as his contract is currently written. Whether it’s another restructure, extension, or something else, something’s got to give.

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire