If the Saints have plans of not bringing back Drew Brees or Jairus Byrd next season, the team missed an important deadline.
Both players had clauses in their contracts that guaranteed a significant portion of their base salaries become guaranteed next season if they remained on the roster Wednesday, according to a source.
For Brees, $10.85 million of his $19.75 million base salary became guaranteed on Wednesday. And for Byrd, $6 million of his $7.5 million base salary is now guaranteed.
In the case of Brees, this isn’t a significant development since there was little chance he was going to be released this offseason. Both coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis have said he will be the quarterback of the Saints next year and it remains possible his contract is extended at some point this offseason.
For Byrd, unless his deal was reworked like Ellerbe’s and that information has not yet been announced, this could indicate that he will be back next season. The free safety carries a $11.4 million cap number and it would cost New Orleans more to release him than to keep him on the roster.
New Orleans could, however, part ways with Byrd and designate him a post-June 1. If this happens, he could be released and only count $3.4 million against the cap in 2016. That would, however, create a dead money charge in 2017.