The One Contract Holding Back the New Orleans Saints

New Orleans Saints TE Jared Cook
New Orleans Saints TE Jared Cook / Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints wasted no time upgrading their roster as they look to gear up for another playoff run with Drew Brees under center. The fresh contract extension the Saints doled out to the 41-year-old quarterback (two-years, $50 million) has put the team in an unfriendly cap situation.

However, considering that the deal put Brees outside the top-10 highest paid QBs, almost everyone will tell you that it was the right move. The 13-time Pro Bowler is just too valuable to say that his contract is holding back New Orleans.

That burden lies with tight end Jared Cook.

Last March, the Saints signed Cook, then a free agent, to a two-year, $15.5 million contract. While the 32-year-old vet only accounted for a $4 million cap in 2019, that tally will increase to $9 million this upcoming season.

Cook is a talented player, but he isn't deserving of being the fourth-highest-paid player (in terms of base salary) on a roster as talented as New Orleans'. As far as top tight ends in the NFL are concerned, the two-time Pro Bowler isn't near the top tier that features the likes of Travis Kelce, George Kittle, and Zach Ertz.

That's no disrespect to Cook, who logged 43 receptions for 705 yards and nine touchdowns in 2019. It's just impossible to deny that the Saints overpaid for his services last offseason. New Orleans cap situation -- it has just $2.73 million to work with -- would look a lot less messy if the South Carolina product's contract wasn't on the books.

The least the Saints could do is restructure Cook's deal.