- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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As we wait for the Saints and Panthers to hold media sessions after Thursday’s workouts, let’s fill some time by taking a look at updated salary-cap figures for each NFC South team.
The Atlanta Falcons are $2.8 million below the salary cap and have only one draft choice (fifth-round pick Jonathan Massaquoi) left to sign. The Falcons don’t have a lot of room to work with. But, if some veterans they like come available, it wouldn’t be that difficult for the Falcons to restructure some contracts to free up salary-cap room.
The Carolina Panthers are $3.2 million under the cap. That figure is a little misleading. The Panthers released guard Travelle Wharton and designated him as a June 1 cut. That means Wharton’s entire cap figure ($7.6 million) currently is counting against Carolina’s cap. Once June 1 gets here, the Panthers will be allowed to spread Wharton’s cap hit out over this year and next.
The New Orleans Saints are $2.3 million under the cap. Like the Panthers, the Saints could be looking at some dramatic changes in their cap room. If linebacker Jonathan Vilma’s season-long suspension is upheld, the Saints will immediately free up his $4.9 million cap figure. The Saints can use that room as they try to get quarterback Drew Brees signed to a long-term contract.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are $16.5 million under the cap. That figure is updated with the trade of Kellen Winslow, which freed up $4.8 million in cap space. The Bucs still have to sign first-round picks Mark Barron and Doug Martin, but there still is plenty of room if the Bucs see an available player they like.