3 surprise cuts the Saints could make this offseason

 (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

The New Orleans Saints salary cap issues are well-known by known, but even with that these three players would be surprise cuts.

In light of his looming retirement, Drew Brees did the New Orleans Saints a favor by restructuring his contract. That move cleared close to $24 million in cap space. But, the Saints still sit $69.5 million over a projected $180.5 million cap (via Over The Cap).

So the Saints have plenty of tough decisions coming just to get to the salary cap, to say nothing of having to replace Brees. But they were all-in for 2020 as Brees had one foot out the door with a signed contract with NBC, and now the piper must be paid in full.

Some cuts will be obvious for New Orleans, like tight end Jared Cook ($8 million roster bonus due on Mar. 19) and linebacker Kwon Alexander ($13.165 million in cleared cap space, no dead money). Guard Nick Easton has already been let go, with $5.8 million in cleared cap space.

But there are some names that would be surprising cuts for the Saints. These three players particularly stand out.

Three surprise offseason cuts the New Orleans Saints could make

3. OT Ryan Ramczyk

After being a first-round pick, Ramczyk stepped right in as the Saints starting right tackle as a rookie in 2017. He’s started all 64 games since, and he has played at a very high level. He was a first-team All-Pro in 2019, with second-team All-Pro selections in the two years surrounding. As Mike Triplett of ESPN cited, Ramczyk was graded as a top-eight offensive tackle by Pro Football Focus in each of his first three seasons (20th last season).

But Ramczyk is heading into the final season of his rookie contract, and he’d surely like an extension reflected by his performance. That invites the possibility of a holdout this summer, as meaningful as that may or may not be depending on how offseason work and training camp look.

Ramczyk would surely have great value if the Saints took him to the trade market, so that might be the path to take if it comes to that (as unlikely as it would be). An extension would naturally help reduce his $11 million cap hit for 2021, if that gets done in due order. But with all the work they have to do to get even with the cap, the ability to clear Ramczyk’s entire cap hit with no dead money stands out on the Saints balance sheet. There’s like a .000001 percent chance they cut him, but it can’t be ruled out if extension talks that would drop that cap hit linger too long.

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