Stemming from the large payout to Jahri Evans in 2010, which was reportedly over $16 million in a single season, the Saints were not awarded with an extra $1.6 million in salary cap space divvied out by the league as part of larger penalties for Washington and Dallas.
The Redskins and Cowboys were stripped of $36 million and $10 million 2012 salary cap space respectively for abusing the 2010 salary cap on huge player deals despite half a dozen reported warnings from the league. The money from the two teams was reallocated to the rest of the league so that the league-wide player costs were not affected.
The Saints and Raiders, however, did not receive their portion, for salary "dumps" during the uncapped league year at the end of the prior CBA.
The NFL Management Council issued this statement:
The Management Council Executive Committee determined that the contract practices of a small number of clubs during 2010 league year created an unacceptable risk to future competitive balance, particularly in light of the relatively modest salary cap growth projected for the new agreement's early years. To remedy these effects and preserve competitive balance thru-out the league, the parties to the CBA agreed to adjustments to team salary for the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
The NFL Network said the Saints and Raiders were guilty of "marginal infractions" in 2010.
According to the Times-Picayune, the Saints are $6.5 million under the salary cap going into the start of free agency tomorrow, March 13. QB Drew Brees' cap hit is just over $19 million according to the report.
The second blow from the league has yet land. Meanwhile, Saints owner Tom Benson and head coach Sean Payton met with commissioner Roger Goodell today, to apologize and plead their case in the Bounty Scandal punishments likely to come.
The Saints requested the meeting with the commissioner. The league is expected announce punishments for the Saints, player, current and former coaches this week.