Cap Hell Plagues Saints; Bucs Could Strike

February 9th, 2014

The Bucs could snatch the gut of the Saints offense

If Lovie Smith has his way, then next year at this time the Bucs will be in a similar place as the New Orleans Saints are now. And that would be battling salary cap complications.

Joe found this story rather interesting reading.The Saints are $12 million in committed cash over the 2014 salary cap. They must slash players and payroll, and find a way to re-sign all-World tight end/receiver Jimmy Graham. Times-Picayune beat writer Larry Holder identified nine significant names for the Saints to consider.

The Saints will have a two-week period to use the franchise tag on Graham as the period opens Feb. 17 and closes March 3. If a long-term deal hits a snag, there’s no doubt the Saints will tag Graham as Loomis has said this offseason that will happen.

Then comes the debate of whether Graham is considered a tight end or a wide receiver. The Saints unwaveringly view Graham as a tight end, which a tight-end tag would cost around $6.8 million in 2014. Graham and his representatives will likely contend Graham should be paid like a wide receiver, which would cost around $11.6 million.

The Saints also have key potential free agents like safety Malcolm Jenkins, tackle Zach Strief and center Brian de la Puente they will ponder re-signing. To make any of this happen, the Saints will need trim to salary fat off their ledger and Payton alluded to as much Friday.

Some of the contracts the Saints could ponder trimming and cutting loose all together include, but aren’t limited to, veteran players like linebacker Will Smith ($13. 9 million cap number in 2014, $11.5 million in savings if released), safety Roman Harper ($5.87 million, $3.15 million), wide receiver Lance Moore ($5.07 million, $3.8 million), defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley ($6.1 million, $4.4 million), cornerback Jabari Greer ($6.8 million, $4.5 million) and running back Pierre Thomas ($2.9 million, $2.9 million).

The Bucs have no such problems.

They could re-sign all their free agents and still have a little freedom on the free agent market. However, that won’t happen. The Bucs don’t have in impressive list of free agents – Dekoda Watson and Erik Lorig appear to be the most worthy.

One guy to watch off the Saints is the center, Brian de la Puente. The three-year starter is durable, clearly can pass block, and he played at “Cal” under new Bucs offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford. He came into the league undrafted and doesn’t have a lot of mileage on him at 28 years old, having made just 28 starts.

Joe suspects de la Puente would be a solid “value” free agent and free up Jeremy Zuttah to move to left guard and/or serve more of the ultimate-versatile-backup role he handles so well.

40 Responses to “Cap Hell Plagues Saints; Bucs Could Strike”

  1. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    If they are 12 mill over the cap, how can they afford a franchise tag?

    I would love…LOVE…to get our hands on Jimmy Graham.

  2. John23 Says:

    Getting de la puente would be awesome he is a huge dude.

  3. SAMCRO Says:

    When you pay your QB 1/6 of the allotted salary cap those things will happen. I’m surprised that more teams who are now paying ungodly amounts to their QB’s are able to even compete. ala Matty Ice, Flacco, and Brees.

    If we give Glennon another chance and build the team up around him with the money we have, it only makes since we should be able to contend. Wait till Wilson, Kap, Smith, Luck, and Newton strap their teams with 20 mil a year contracts. The only way to balance it out is hope veterans will play for lesser amounts to offset the cost or the league increase the salary cap.

    The balance of power is going to shift when more teams are put in the same position as Baltimore, Atlanta, and N.Orleans. More than ever it will be up to the QBs to win it all for them unless they are great at drafting.

  4. Snook Says:

    That’s exactly what this team needs is a $7 million TE with Mike Glennon throwing to him.

    Crown us.

    *sarcasm off*

  5. Snook Says:

    I wonder what Broderick Bunkley would cost on the open market. He was a beat at FSU. Sure as hell isn’t worth $6 million though.

  6. kgh4life Says:


    They are over the cap, however, as stated in the article the Saints would have to release or restructure some their players contracts to be able to franchise Graham.

  7. Orca Says:

    The pre-free-agency-speculative-fantasy-sploogefest has begun. Target is running a special on Hanes underwear. You guys should probably stock up,

  8. you go joe Says:

    Man I do hope we keep Lorig. Be a dam shame to lose him or not even attempt to resign him.

  9. SAMCRO Says:

    @you go joe

    I agree

  10. Orca Says:

    ^^ Lorig. He’s great if you run power with a lead back. Do we know if that’s a component of Tedford’s offense? Anyway, if they want him, it shouldn’t be difficult as there’s not a huge market for a guy like him. If they pass, it will be for good reason.

  11. patrickbucs Says:

    They will cut Will Smith I would think there is $11.5 off of $13.9 million. They will find a way to keep Graham no two ways about it. They will rely on the draft to help them out on some veterans that will have to go.

  12. Robbie_G Says:

    Think they will make a run at Mack from the Browns? I say but bait with Nicks, I don’t ever seeing him back to form.

  13. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Sign Zuttah’s Replacement (FA-Options)
    -Alex Mack
    -Brian De La Puente
    -Evan Dietrich-Smith

  14. bigpoppabuc Says:

    We could use Lance Moore…no way they let Graham walk. And IMO the Saints should start looking for a young QB to groom under Drew. Saints’ cap situation is pretty ugly but Peyton and Rob Ryan make that team competitive in the end.

  15. Macabee Says:

    Forget about Graham, he’s not going anywhere. Worst case they franchise him. There will be a fight about whether he will be franchised as a TE or WR. No player has ever won that fight, so they will probably agree on some kind of contract before the season starts.

    Don’t worry about the 2015 salary cap. We will extend or renew the McCoy contract and will have some kind of cap-friendly contract with Revis in 2015. Add to that the revenue from the TV deals kick in 2015 and the expected increase per team is around 4mil.

    There may even be more dollars this year as the NFLPA has, by virtue of the last CBA, the option to increase the 2014 cap by 2 million dollars. So the 2014 cap could be 128.3 instead of 126.3.That decision will be made shortly.

    De La Puente or Alex Mack – they are all within striking distance. But with Graham there is no Brees, and without Brees there are no Saints. So it’s best to forget about Graham!

  16. Macabee Says:

    *without Graham

  17. BucfaninMO Says:

    Signing NO FA OL has been not so kind to the Bucs in the past..

  18. Brandon Says:

    BuccaneerBonzai-You did read the article, right? They will find a way to re-sign Graham, even if they have to cut half their starting defense. They may be $12 mil over, but they can free up roughly $31 million just from cutting the players Joe just mentioned.

  19. Theodore Says:

    What’s with the obsession with pass blocking today? The Bucs are not and will not be a passing team. The HC already said defense wins games. End of story.

    The Buc offense will be in charge of not losing games.

  20. Brandon Says:

    LUVMYBUCS-Why do you insist on finding Zuttah’s replacement? He was more than serviceable and perhaps our 2nd best overall OL for the Bucs last season and considering his versatility, he is far more valuable than a guy that can only play OG or OC… though I think he could be a pretty good OT too, he was in college.

  21. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We win no matter what….if we get Graham….great….but….he is too expensive….they may lose him to another team outside the division. Regardless….the Saints will lose players.

    We are fortunate to have the “possibility” of several skill players with low cap hits….QB, RB, TE (Wright)…& perhaps a player like Sammy Watkins at WR.
    Although I am in favor of keepin Revis….with his year to year no guarantee deals….we can always free up a ton of space.

  22. bigpoppabuc Says:

    Agreed Brandon…. Zuttah does not enough respect from the majority of Bucs fans. He’s been one of our better draft picks this past decade.

  23. LUVMYBUCS Says:


    Normally, I empathize with your view on our beloved Buccaneers(Outside of your view on guards being the least valuable position on the football field).

    When it comes to Zuttah, he’s a TERRIBLE DRIVE BLOCKER. Which in return is a major hindrance in the power running style Tedford employees. Sure he’s serviceable in a pinch, but thats all.

    Many times I’ve seen him, get bull rushed into a quarterback lap. He’s more suitable in a zone blocking schemes. Trade him to a team like Denver and his an All-Pro. Average/liability at Center or Guard in power running game.

  24. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    *Trade him to a team like Denver and he’s an All-Pro

  25. pick6 Says:

    it’s a dangerous game to franchise graham….a team picking late in the 1st round and with plenty of cap space might find it well worth their 1st and 3rd to make graham an offer the saints can’t match. the first 10 years of this decade, i would retrospectively have been okay with the bucs giving up the the first 4 rounds of picks for a guaranteed stud like jimmy graham.

  26. pick6 Says:

    *the first 10 years of this century

  27. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Note: Remember Zuttah was giving a contract after a strong showing under Zone Blocking Offensive Line Coach Pete Mangurian short stay.

    Mangurian was here two years. –Joe

  28. LUVMYBUCS Says:


    A 6.3′ Left Tackle in the todays NFL ..really?

  29. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Mangurian was here two years. –Joe

    Yep short stay indeed. Still say it was a terrible fire.

  30. PRBucFan Says:

    There was a Brees before Graham though…

  31. Quick66 Says:

    Zuttah is better at guard. Bringing in a new center is the thing to do. It’s obvious that Nicks can’t be relied upon. I hope we draft an interior lineman in the later rounds.

  32. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Snook Says
    “That’s exactly what this team needs is a $7 million TE with Mike Glennon throwing to him.”

    You forget…I also want us to draft a QB in round one.

    Besides, the MGM claims he doesn’t have enough weapons.

  33. SeanyMac in SC Says:

    Great article Joe. Interesting insight onto the ‘Aints cap woes. Dom had his issues, but cap space never seemed to be one of them. If the Bucs do get FA form NOLA, hopefully it will work out better than Carl Nicks has so far.

  34. Thomas Says:

    Just make sure we dont get damaged goods like the last one we stole from N.O.

  35. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Theodore Says
    “What’s with the obsession with pass blocking today? The Bucs are not and will not be a passing team. The HC already said defense wins games. End of story.

    The Buc offense will be in charge of not losing games.”

    Good pass blocking reduces QB fumbles and picks. That’s something the HC will want to do.

  36. BoJim Says:

    ‘Snook Says:
    February 9th, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    That’s exactly what this team needs is a $7 million TE with Mike Glennon throwing to him.’

    He seemed to hit Wright quite a bit.????

  37. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    “When it comes to Zuttah, he’s a TERRIBLE DRIVE BLOCKER.”

    Part of that has to do with the talent around him. Remember, he’s been playing with backups mostly, so teams are able to gang up on him (and Penn).

    Here is my concern. Remember why we signed Jeff Faine? Who was the Center before him? Who was the center before that guy?

    Center has always been an issue in Tampa…at least since the 90s. Zuttah is better at center than at guard. People tend to forget just how bad he was at guard. Pull him from center like they tried during last season and we saw what happened.

    The grass always seems greener until you jump the fence.

    I think center should be addressed later. To me, zuttah is good enough for at least one more year. We need to finish the defense, get a WR and address 2-3 other spots on the oline.

    TE isn’t even that big a deal to me (unless an opportunity presents itself).

    I would also like a good FB, but I realize there is only just so much that can be done in one off season.

  38. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Wright may well be the next Jimmy Graham if he keeps improving at TE.

  39. LUVMYBUCS Says:


    C’mon brotha, lol you darn well being a terrible drive blocker has absolutely nothing to do with talent around you. Its a Mano-E-Mano thing, squaring up with the guy across from you. By simply driving the defensive player off the line of scrimmage.

    You would think a guy that benched, 35 reps at the combine could handle that, but his base is the problem. With his quickness and athleticism he’s a perfect fit for a zone blocking scheme. Great drive blockers are built like cannon balls, with strong thick thighs(Country or Corn feed). And those physical characteristics are ideal for a power running team.

  40. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Techniques & Drills for Creating Championship Offensive Line