The Saints continue their move toward cap compliancy with two expected releases of tight ends Jared Cook and Josh Hill. The Cook contract was an interesting on and I’ll explain the reason behind the release given that we had him listed as a free agent.
Cook had signed a two year contract in 2019 that contained a void year for 2021. That void year allowed the Saints to stick $2 million in salary cap proration in the future and fit him in their tight salary cap situation when signed. There were rules in place at the time due to the potential expiration of the CBA that would have actually counted the $2 million against the 2020 salary cap since there was no acceleration allowed in the final league year had the CBA not been extended.
Since that kind of defeats the purpose of the void year the Saints instead negotiated a contract with a massive roster bonus that would kick in for 2021 if he was still on the roster. This would allow them to keep the $2 million in 2021 even if the CBA was not extended since they could then release him on the first day of the new league year. With the new CBA in place they could release him early and not worry about the cap charges. So basically this accomplished the same thing as a void but allowed them to work within the worst cap constraints possible.
So if you have been using OTC for estimated cap space his release doesnt change anything since we were reported the contract based on the intent rather than the actual execution and always had just a $2 million charge for him.
Hill on the other hand was on the Saints roster at a $3.3 million cap charge. His release will cost the team $750,000 in dead money, creating around $2.5 million in cap room.
We currently estimate the Saints to be about $65 million over the cap not including a recent extension that was signed yesterday by RFA JT Gray.
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.