The first of many expects contract modifications (and terminations) to get the Saints underneath the 2013 salary cap has occurred, as the front office has restructured the deal of MLB Curtis Lofton.
The move prorates a $5 million bonus to stretch it out over the remaining years of his five-year contract signed in 2012, opening up $4 million in cap space for 2013.
The 2013 salary cap is expected to be just over $121 million per team.
The Saints used many similar contract modifications last season to stock extra salary cap room to pay Drew Brees and others.
The Saints also this past week re-signed exclusive rights free agents S Rafael Bush, TE Michael Higgins and G Eric Olsen. With less than four years of experience, those players were the Saints' to re-sign and had no rights to talk to other teams.
Restricted free agents include starting center Brian De La Puente, long snapper Justin Drescher, defensive end/soon-to-be linebacker Junior Galette, and runningback Chris Ivory. The Saints are expected to retain all four - each could be expected to start, though Ivory is stuffed in a deep depth chart.
Unrestricted free agents for the Saints on the afternoon of March 12 are starting left tackle Jermon Bushrod, outside linebacker Jonathan Casillas, backup quarterback Chase Daniel, starting defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis, veteran wide receiver Devery Henderson, linebacker Ramon Humber, cornerback Elbert Mack, defensive end Turk McBride, offensive tackle William Robinson, wide receiver and special teamer Courtney Roby, and outside linebacker Scott Shanle.