I think there are several Saints who could be released this offseason or asked to take pay cuts for salary-cap purposes. The Saints are already projected to be over the cap next year – and that’s even before re-signing unrestricted free-agent tight end Jimmy Graham, among others.

Don’t worry – the Saints won’t risk losing Graham or any core players. There are always creative ways to push cap costs into future years when needed. And Brees’ contract is one possible way to do that, if necessary (though it wouldn’t be the team’s top choice). … But the Saints will be as critical as ever when looking at players’ values compared to their costs this offseason.

For starters, the Saints will have some tough decisions to make with several pending unrestricted free agents (including Zach Strief, Brian de la Puente, Malcolm Jenkins, Jonathan Vilma, Parys Haralson, Robert Meachem and Charles Brown). Of that group, I think Strief would be the most likely to stay and Vilma and Brown the most likely to leave. But the price tag will have to be right for anyone in that group.