G Jahri Evans, in possession of one the Saints' biggest contracts, has restructured the 2012 year of his contract to help the team.
The 2010 deal made him the richest offensive guard in league history, and is a jumping point for fellow star G Carl Nicks' negotiations.
The Saints used a similar tactic with Evans as they did with DE Will Smith earlier, converting base salary into signing bonus and prorating the balance to the remaining five years of his seven year contract. According to ESPN, this drops Evans' salary cap value from 5.2 to 3.36 million for 2012.
The cash-strapped Saints reportedly still have less than $10 million in expected cap space going into free agency, though the league and the union have yet to announce the official salary cap number for 2012.
Nicks meanwhile has flown to New Orleans this weekend and may receive the Saints' contract offer, as last minute and desperate as it may be.
He has yet to be contacted by the Saints, though the team has likely be in touch with his agent. Nicks wrote on twitter Thursday, "...they haven't called me once like they wanted to keep me! Nor discussed any contract".
Nicks is expected to hit free agency on Tuesday and surpass Evans as the highest paid guard in the league, albeit with another team.