Two defensive standouts are candidates for restructured contracts or release, Will Smith is scheduled to count $10.15 million against the cap. He's their only top pass rusher and could free up $6.15 by releasing him.
Jon Vilma, the middle linebacker and defensive play-caller, will count $7.6 million against the cap. The Saints could free up $3.6 million by releasing him. Restructuring is a possibility for both, but the Saints might be ready for Jo-Lonn Dunbar take over his spot; Vilma is coming off another knee surgery and has slowed some. They liked the way Dunbar played last season while Vilma was recovery from surgery.
And, Dunbar is not a highly paid player yet. Linebacker Will Herring is scheduled to count $1.7 million against the cap. He was injured a lot last season and seems to be a prime candidate for release.
Wide receiver Devery Henderson is scheduled to count $3.6 million against the cap and the Saints could free up $2.8 million by releasing him. If they lose Colston and Meachem, they'll need to keep Henderson.
Two others starters could be asked to restructure/extend their contracts.
Left tackle Jermon Bushrod, rated as the 17th-best left tackle in the league, is scheduled to make $6.9 million and the Saints could free up $5.2 million by releasing him. He made the Pro Bowl last season and has become a solid player. He's heading into the final year of his contract and lone possible solution would be to extend his contract to knock down the cap figure.
Defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis is scheduled to count $7.6 million against the cap and the Saints could save more than $5M by releasing him. He is not the dominate player they thought he would be when they drafted him in the first round. A solution would be to spread out is cap number over the years.
GM Mickey Loomis has a lot of work ahead of him, but he usually finds a way to continue to be successful.
Greg Davis, longtime offensive coordinator at Texas and for Tulane head coach (1988-91) is the new offensive coordinator at Iowa...Oliver Luck, West Virginia AD and father of Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, was a teammate of Archie Manning with the Houston Oilers. "I was a rookie third-string quarterback and Archie was nearing the end of his career," recalls Luck." About all I did was take Cooper, Peyton and Eli to get burgers."
SOME hither, others yon: The first step of recovery for LSU football fans and the BCS championship game loss is spring football, which begins on Thursday for the Tigers and Les Miles, who may be the most unpopular coach who won 13 games the previous season. Tigers players get over losses like that faster than fans do and 18-20 year-olds don't let things like that fester as much as their fans. Miles on LSU returning to the BCS championship game this season: "We return a team in my mind that will have as much talent and is just as capable as any that we've had The opportunity for us to approach that style of team that went 13-0 and exceed is certainly before us."...
"As the Peyton Saga Turns": The wooing of Peyton Manning by teams not in Indy has been officially kicked off with a "Manning To Miami" billboard. The billboard is the work of the folk behind Manningmovingtomiami.com, who launched their Internet presence on Tuesday...Gay Glaudi Bennett's Letter to the Editor was in Tuesday's The Times-Picayune. She noted that her father's broadcasting style (WWL-TV, WWL Radio) was a unique and endearing style -- folksy and definitely Ninth Ward. She wrote that Hap paved the way for Buddy D, Frank Davis, Bobby Hebert and Deke Bellavia to get into sportscasting. "Who would have hired Buddy D had Hap not proved that a true New Orleanian can command the airways, accent and all," she wrote......
This just in: Over the weekend Nebraska defensive backfield coach Corey Johnson was quoted as saying "I'm not going to take that job," referring to rumors that he was considering that job at LSU. According to Sean Callahan of Husker Online.com, "Raymond is a done deal (he's taking the LSU defensive backfield job)...
by Ed Staton
by Ed Staton on twitter @Coachstaton
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