There isn’t a team willing to do more to work around the salary cap than the New Orleans Saints. They often stretch the limits of what’s possible within the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement through creative (and often unorthodox) contract structures and restructures, maximizing their resources to field the most competitive team possible year in and year out. It’s what got them from being in the red by more than $70 million to cruising towards training camp with about $10 million to spend, having landed big free agent additions like Tyrann Mathieu and Jarvis Landry along the way.
Still, it’s jarring to see so many high-profile players listed with pedestrian salary cap hits, even knowing how the Saints got here. It’s important to remember that this is just the final accounting number for this fiscal year; most players are actually earning more than what’s listed on the books thanks to past restructures which converted hefty base salaries into signing bonuses. They still got their money, it’s just paid out differently, and in a way that keeps the Saints’ salary cap commitments more manageable — for now, at least. New Orleans will have more hurdles to cross in the future, but that’s a problem for another day. And it’s worth remembering how the Saints have kept working around it so far.
With that said: here are the 22 Saints players carrying salary cap hits valued at more than $3 million for 2022 (all contract numbers via Over The Cap):