Last offseason, the New England Patriots re-structured the contract of star quarterback Tom Brady. The move dropped Brady's base salary to a neglible amount, and the team spread the rest of the money out via the remaining years as a signing bonus. The move gave the Patriots immediate cap relief, but could prove to be restricting the next two years, as Brady will carry cap figues of approximately $22 million each season. The Saints, facing a tight cap, are reportedly considering a similar approach this offseason with quarterback Drew Brees:
As the Saints try to squeeze key veteran players in the hopes of creating cap space, it seems inevitable that they’ll do some money shuffling with quarterback Drew Brees.
Via a so-called “simple” restructuring, Brees could have millions of 2013 base salary converted to a guaranteed payment that would drop his cap number significantly.
For example, $8.8 million of his $9.75 million base salary for 2013 could be shifted to a guaranteed payment, reducing his base salary for this year to the 10-plus-year veteran minimum of $940,000. Then, the $8.8 million would be spread over the remaining four years of his deal, dropping the cap number in 2013 by $6.6 million.
It's an interesting approach, but one that comes with considerable risk and longterm implications. Then again, it can provide immediate cap relief to a strapped-for-space team. And cap relief is something that isn't easy to come by.
For now, we'll wait and see if the Saints choose to take the path that the Patriots did last offseason.