It looks like the Saints’ cap woes will no longer be an active storyline.
New Orleans alleviated itself of a major burden Monday by converting Junior Galette’s $12.5 million roster bonus into a signing bonus, which clears $10 million in cap space for 2015.
The move allows the team to spread the charge out over five seasons and unofficially gets the team under the $148.3 million salary cap. It will not be known where the Saints officially stand until the contracts of wide receiver Marques Colston and defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley are filed to the league.
Galette finished last season with 10 sacks and 45 tackles. He was signed to four-year extension last season worth $41.5 million.
The transaction was first reported by NFL Network.
The Saints can continue to create additional space by converting roster bonuses owed to tight end Jimmy Graham ($5 million) and linebacker David Hawthorne ($2.5 million). By making both of those moves, it would clear an additional $4.5 million space.
New Orleans could also look to restructure the contracts of guards Jahri Evans and Ben Grubbs, and cornerback Corey White to create additional space.
The added funds will come in handy with free agency set to open Tuesday afternoon at 3 p.m.
The Saints made an additional move Monday by releasing linebacker Curtis Lofton, which cleared $4.5 million in cap space.
Lofton, one of the team’s leaders, led the team in tackles last season. He hooked on with the Saints three seasons ago after starting his career with the Falcons.
With the various holes, the Saints will likely be in the market for help at cornerback and linebacker. They could also look to sign an offensive lineman.
Galette was considered a potential candidate to be released due to some struggles on the field and an offseason arrest for domestic violence.
The case against him has since been dropped by police, but he could face a potential suspension if the league determines he acted inapropriately.
It’s not clear what this move means for his future. The team reportedly shopped him, a sign that it was willing to move forward without him, but this transaction could firm up his place on the team.
But with or without Galette, the Saints will be in the market for a pass rusher either in free agency or the draft -- if not both.