- Jonathan Bachman/Getty
The New Orleans Saints cut CJ Spiller on Tuesday, despite already having paid the veteran running back $1.55 million in a roster bonus and the fact that his $1.7 million salary is fully guaranteed.
That’s not exactly an ideal situation, but it’s also only the tip of the iceberg that is New Orleans’ disastrous salary cap situation.
As ESPN’s Field Yates pointed out, the Saints are now carrying roughly $40 million in dead cap space – that is, salary cap space being taken up by players not currently on the active roster.
Over the past two seasons, that figure is closer to $70 million:
in the last two years the #saints will have carried over $75m in dead money. they also have early lead in dead money for 2017
— Jason_OTC (@Jason_OTC) September 13, 2016
Spiller lasted less than two full years with the Saints. He picked up 112 rushing yards and 229 receiving yards, failing to really ever make an impact. And yet, the Saints had to wait to cut Spiller because their financial situation is so bleak.
The Saints released Spiller on Tuesday after being a healthy inactive for the team’s Week 1 loss against Oakland. They had to wait for the cap space to do it. The cap space came when Drew Brees signed his one-year extension. New Orleans can absorb the $4.5 million cap hit for 2016 and a $2.5 million cap hit for 2017.
Spiller is far from the only player that has been a bust in New Orleans after a big contract. Brandon Browner and Junior Galette also come to mind.
The Saints treat dead cap money like I treat loose socks at the bottom of my closet. “Sure, what’s a few more?”
— Robert Mays (@robertmays) September 13, 2016
It’s hard to compete in the NFL when $40 million in cap space is spent on players not suiting up on Sundays. The Saints need to figure out their personnel problems, and figure them out fast, if they want to make the playoffs anytime soon.