C.J. Spiller was released today, after being a healthy inactive in the Week 1 loss to Oakland. Spiller was signed to a big money free agent deal and expected to come in and fill the quicker back role in the Saints offense, but it never happened.
According to Mike Triplett of ESPN, that move leaves the Saint with over a quarter of the cap being dead money (i.e., used on players no longer on the roster). Triplett says it is over $40 million in dead money; according to Spotrac, it is $37.8 million, which is still over a quarter of the total $146.4 million the team has used in cap space. The “50” being advertised for the Saints 50th season could stand for the dead cap hit before too long.
Junior Galette (released due to his off-field issues after signing big contract), Jahri Evans, Spiller, Brandon Browner, and Keenan Lewis are the biggest dead cap money hits.
For some perspective, the New England Patriots have about $11 million in dead cap money counting against the salary cap. The Seahawks are at under $10 million. The Washington Redskins–long the poster boys of bad offseason free agent contracts–are also at about $11 million.
Drew Brees just signed a one-year extension through the end of the 2017 season, for an additional $24.5 million. Sure, that may seem high, and it may be hard to build a team with so much going to one player. On the other hand, the Saints would probably just find a way to squander that money if they didn’t pay it to the actual good player on the roster.