March 16, 2008

Notes: Saints Procrastinate on Deuce Tax

$1 million roster bonus pushed back one month; more notes from around franchise

The Saints had a difficult and potentially costly decision ahead of them. So like the rest of us, they've put off paying their taxes.

Their Deuce McAllister tax, that is.

The Saints, with McAllister's consent, pushed back a $1 million roster bonus a March 15 one month.

McAllister is rehabbing his second major knee injury and surgery in three years, this latest one suffered in the opposite knee in week three of the 2007 season.

In addition to surgery on his left knee to repair a torn ACL, he underwent microfracture surgery on the right knee to promote tissue regeneration.

McAllister is currently unable to run or cut at full speed, and the Saints would like more information on his progress and expected availability. The Saints are considering options for his contract, including asking McAllister for a contract restructuring.

After the roster bonus, the 29-yard old runningback is scheduled to earn $3.6 million in base salary, $100k in workout bonus as part of the eight year, $50.1 million deal he signed in 2005. That deal included $12.5 million in signing and option bonuses, including this year's $1 million payment, now due to McAllister on April 15.

The Saints are hoping to get more feedback about McAllister's knee rehabilitation progress before returning to the negotiating table.

McAllister is the franchise's most popular player, a Mississippi native, remarkable philanthropist and soft-spoken team leader. On the field, McAllister has been when healthy a versatile, powerful and productive runningback as good as the franchise has ever seen.

McAllister played a key role on the Saints' first even divisional playoff victory, rushing for 143 yards against the Eagles and scoring two touchdowns, including the game-winner on an 11-yard catch and run.

Offseason Program Starts Up: The Saints are regathering from around the country in Metairie for the start of the team's offseason conditioning program on Monday. The three month program concludes with the start of Organized Team Activities (OTA's), which leads into the minicamps.

The Saints have two minicamps scheduled, one for rookies after the draft on May 9-11 and a mandatory camp for all players from May 30 to June 1.

Sean Payton will have a press conference at 2pm on Monday, March 17.

Notes: Former Saint QB John Fourcade has been named head coach of the Fairbanks (yes, Fairbanks, Alaska) Grizzlies of the IFL - Intense Football League, an indoor football variant with two teams in Alaska, one in Lake Charles, Louisiana and five in Texas. Fourcase was named the replacement head coach of the Grizzlies after their week one loss, and lost his first game 61-75 to the Roughriders from Katy, Texas. Fourcade owns a restaurant in New Orleans and an Arena League 2 team in Biloxi, Mississippi... Mark Brunell hasn't decided which number to wear for the Saints this season. He traditionally has worn #8, and while the Saints have not officially retired any jersey numbers, no Saint player has worn #8 except for Archie Manning... The Louisiana Legislature is moving to have the State purchase - essentially refinance - the Superdome's municipal bonds, in an effort to lower their interest rate. Interest due by the Superdome Commission on their bonds is three times higher than was expected...

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