So, how will the New Orleans Saints remain competitive in 2021? Their issues aren’t just limited to complying with the salary cap — once they’re back beneath it, they have to focus on creating more resources to reload their roster after losing some of the 21 free agents crowding around the exits. Saints salary cap guru Khai Hartley (official title: vice president of football administration) will have to put together his magnum opus in navigating it all this year.
It doesn’t help that the list of possible cap casualties isn’t as obvious as you’d think. Linebacker Kwon Alexander ($13.4 million if released) and cornerback Janoris Jenkins ($7 million in possible savings) are both candidates to be let go, but Alexander’s injury clouds things, and both of them played well enough for the Saints to try and retain them through pay cuts or restructured contracts.
There are other options if the Saints get really desperate (like tight end Josh Hill, wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, and quarterback Taysom Hill, each of whom can between $2.6 million and $5 million if cut), but that’s only in a worst-case scenario where every other possible maneuver new Orleans tries isn’t enough. The other players on this list should be easier decisions to make. Still, we’re headed for lean times in New Orleans as the team transitions from one era to another, and some good players are going to end up on the outside looking in because of it.