As new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan tries to figure out which current members of the New Orleans Saints will fit his 3-4 defense, the futures of linebacker Jonathan Vilma and defensive end Will Smith could be determined by a calculator.
Both players have high salary-cap figures for 2013 and hefty roster bonuses that are scheduled to come soon. Vilma is scheduled to receive a $1.1 million roster bonus on the second day of the league year in March and Smith is scheduled to receive a $1 million roster bonus on the 15th day of the league year.
But both veterans could be gone before the start of the league year. The Saints are in a difficult salary-cap situation with more than $142 million currently committed to a 2013 cap that’s likely to be slightly higher than $120 million.
Smith is scheduled to count $14.5 million against the cap. But the Saints could free up $10.4 million by releasing him.
Vilma is scheduled to count $8.6 million against the cap. The Saints could clear $6 million in cap space by releasing him.