Loomis says reported increased salary cap won't affect Saints decisions

Associated Press file photo by Matthew HintonNew Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis speaks during a media availability at the team's training facilities. Show caption
Associated Press file photo by Matthew HintonNew Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis speaks during a media availability at the team's training facilities.

INDIANAPOLIS — Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis on Friday wasn’t sure whether the 2014 salary cap indeed will be several million dollars higher than it was initially thought to be, as had been reported a day earlier.

So, as far as he’s concerned, that story won’t much alter the Saints’ immediate plans. Though the Saints recently cut high-priced defensive veterans Jabari Greer, Roman Harper and Will Smith to create much-needed cap space, the trimming is not over, Loomis said.

Thus Loomis, who stepped away from activity at the NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium to speak with local Saints writers on a number of topics, confirmed what many outsiders suspected.

“I haven’t heard anything about a change in the projected salary cap,” said Loomis, referring to an ESPN story that the cap would be about $130 million as opposed to a previous estimate of about $126 million. The Saints’ cap figure as of Friday was about $125 million. The salary cap will be set in the coming days, and teams need to be under it by the start of the league year March 11.

“We have an expectation of what the number is going to be, (and) there’s been nothing to change that expectation other than all of a sudden there’s this report, which I don’t even know where that got generated,” Loomis added.

Asked if he anticipated parting ways with more veterans, Loomis rattled off the three ways to free up cap space: restructuring deals on the books, making trades or terminating players under contract.

“We’ve got some work to do,” he said. “What form that takes remains to be seen.”

These days, hardly anything can be written about the Saints without mention of the salary cap. Being some $5 million under the cap — as opposed to about $1 million — would make things slightly easier for the Saints to accomplish their primary offseason goal: scrounging up the dollars to re-sign All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham to a new long-term contract or, failing that, to use the franchise tag on him.

It’s anticipated that Graham, who spent most of his time in 2013 lining up out wide for the Saints, will file a grievance to be classified as a wide receiver and not as a tight end for the purposes of the franchise tag.

A franchise tag is likely to be worth about $5 million more for a wide receiver than for a tight end.

Loomis declined to comment on the negotiations with Graham, who is at the end of the contract he accepted from the Saints as a rookie in 2010.