The New Orleans Saints have begun the process of becoming salary cap compliant by restructuring the contract of Jairus Byrd according to Evan Woodbery of Nola.com… Byrd converted his $6 million roster bonus into a signing bonus, creating $4.8 million in cap space and further pushing charges to the future.
I am a bit surprised by the move because Byrd has now missed 17 games in the last two seasons and should be the type of player that the Saints be more cautious about investing more in. The Saints had already paid Byrd an $11 million signing bonus in 2014 in order to create an artificially low salary cap charge to fit him within their very limited cap situation. Now the team will $17 million in prorated money invested in the safety.
Byrd’s cap charge for the 2015 season is now just $5.5 million. Because of the large bonuses that figure jumps next season to $10.9 million, a larger figure than Bryd’s first two years combined. His dead money in 2017 will now jump to $8 million, virtually insuring Byrd of a spot on the roster through that season. The Saints need him to be both healthy and productive for this restructure to pay off.
The Saints, who will release Pierre Thomas (about $1.7M in savings) and likely release Curtis Lofton ($4.3M in savings) , still have a long way to go to get under the 2015 salary cap limit by next week’s start of free agency. The team also has the worst cap situation in the NFL in 2016 and that will grow infinitely worse if they continue to push more money into the future for veteran players.