Saints lead NFL in 2014 cap commitment

New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis did a nice job of guiding the Saints through a tough salary-cap situation this offseason. But Loomis is going to have to do the same thing all over again next year.

According to the latest numbers I’ve obtained, the Saints have a league-high $143.4 million committed toward a 2014 cap that’s expected to be slightly more than $120 million. The Saints, Dallas Cowboys ($141 million) and Detroit Lions ($137 million) are the only teams with more than $130 million committed toward the 2014 cap.

The Carolina Panthers are fourth at $128.2 million. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have $118.5 million committed toward next year’s cap, but that number could face many variables. If quarterback Josh Freeman has a big season, the Bucs will have to sign him to a hefty new contract. But Tampa Bay currently is more than $18 million under this year’s cap, and should be able to carryover a substantial part of that to create room under next year’s cap.

The Atlanta Falcons are in the best cap shape for 2014 of any NFC South team, with $101.8 million currently committed. But that’s only a temporary number. The Falcons are likely to sign quarterback Matt Ryan to a contract extension sometime this offseason, which will shrink their 2014 cap room significantly.