METAIRIE, La. -- The New Orleans Saints moved more than $26 million in salary-cap charges into future years by restructuring the contracts of wide receiver Michael Thomas and offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk, a source told ESPN's Field Yates on Saturday.
Expect several more of these moves in the coming days, as New Orleans began the offseason about $75 million over the projected 2022 salary cap of $208.2 million per team -- the highest amount of any team in the NFL.
Thomas' restructure is especially notable since it further indicates that New Orleans has no plans to trade its star receiver. The Saints converted $14.6 million of Thomas' scheduled salary and roster bonuses into a signing bonus, which means they can spread the cap charges over the next five years. However, that also means they would be on the hook for all of those charges against the cap this year if they traded Thomas.
Likewise, New Orleans converted $18.2 million of Ramczyk's scheduled salary and roster bonuses into a signing bonus.
The good news for the Saints is they have room to move more than $100 million in salary-cap costs into future years without cutting any current players if they don't want to. Obviously, they'll have to deal with those charges in future seasons. But this has been a common practice for the Saints over the past decade under general manager Mickey Loomis and vice president of football administration Khai Harley -- and it has become more common throughout the league after the coronavirus pandemic lowered the NFL's cap by nearly $16 million per team in 2021.
And Loomis has made it clear this offseason that the Saints don't intend to rebuild their roster despite Sean Payton's decision to step away from coaching. The Saints say they can contend for the NFC South title under new coach Dennis Allen, who retained Pete Carmichael Jr. as his offensive coordinator and Ryan Nielsen and Kris Richard as his co-defensive coordinators.