Saints restructure top players’ contracts, hold second meeting with Deshaun Watson in Atlanta
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The Saints are making an all-out effort to land Deshaun Watson.
Watson is expected to make a decision soon between the Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints after the Cleveland Browns were reportedly told they were out of the running, CBS reports.
The Saints restructured the contracts of quarterback Taysom Hill, linebacker Demario Davis, safety Malcolm Jenkins and cornerback Bradley Roby, ESPN reported on Thursday, landing the team $29.9 million under the salary cap. The move puts the Saints in the financial position to acquire the Houston quarterback.
The Saints began the offseason over $90 million above the cap. They will need around $35 million to absorb the 2022 cap hit of Watson’s contract. It’s possible that they could create another $5.1 million in cap space by including a player with a salary of at least $5.1 million to the Texans as part of the deal, or by restructuring Watson’s contract.
The Atlanta Falcons have not yet restructured quarterback Matt Ryan’s contract, presumably to make him easier to trade in the event they land Watson.
The Saints met with Watson earlier this week, and owner Gayle Benson reportedly flew to Atlanta to meet with Watson a second time after he met with the Falcons on Wednesday. That makes New Orleans the first team to meet with the quarterback twice.
Although a grand jury decided not to charge Watson after multiple women accused him of sexual assault, the NFL could still suspend him.
Even if Watson decides he would like to be traded anywhere other than New Orleans, the Saints have cleared enough cap space for roster upgrades this offseason.
They could turn their attention to re-signing Terron Armstead and adding depth to their secondary by signing safety Tryann Mathieu.
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