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Saints restructure Jonathan Vilma's contract; is he more likely to stay?

By Josh Katzowitz | NFL Writer
Vilma would have cost his team $7.5 million against the salary cap for 2012. (US Presswire)

With the Saints organization still in turmoil (we still don't know about player suspensions stemming from the team-wide bounty program), New Orleans has gone about the business of restructuring contracts, including that of linebacker Jonathan Vilma.

That's the word from Rapid Reporter Larry Holder, and it's an interesting move by the team.

Vilma, fairly or not, is the player face of Bounty-gate, and for now, he's apparently expecting a suspension that falls somewhere between two and eight games (you have to think we'll know something official sooner rather than later). But considering New Orleans keeps adding linebackers to their roster (Curtis Lofton, David Hawthorne, Chris Chamberlain), you have to wonder what the future holds for Vilma -- who offered $10,000 for anybody who knocked out Brett Favre in the 2009 NFC championship game -- in the organization.

If, for instance, Vilma is suspended for half the season (or longer), would the Saints really be willing to hang onto him?

Perhaps cutting his pay will help his chances of staying, because, as Holder points out, Vilma's old salary cap hit for 2012 was $7.5 million. Though we don't know the new contract particulars yet, Holder reports the new deal is “cap friendly.”

Vilma, though, isn't the only Saints player to sign a new deal. Holder writes that defensive end Will Smith, guard Jahri Evans, cornerbacks Jabari Greer and Patrick Robinson, and receiver Lance Moore also did their part in helping the team create more salary cap room (perhaps for quarterback Drew Brees?) by restructuring their deals.

For now, we wait to see how hard the NFL comes down on Vilma and his defensive teammates. And we wait to see if New Orleans thinks its prudent to keep Vilma around for 2012.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, and subscribe to our Pick-6 Podcast and NFL newsletter. You can follow Josh Katzowitz on Twitter here: @joshkatzowitz.
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