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Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith rework Saints contracts

The New Orleans Saints have turned to two defensive veterans -- Jonathan Vilma and Will Smith -- to provide a hint of salary-cap relief at the start of free agency.

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NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday that Vilma has agreed to restructure his contract and will remain in-house at linebacker for 2013. Meanwhile, Larry Holder of The Times-Picayune reported that defensive end Will Smith also reworked his contract to help New Orleans sneak under the cap in time for Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET deadline.

Vilma was scheduled to count $8.6 million against the cap this season, anchored by his $4.8 million base salary. Smith's cap hit was a whopping $14.5 million. We have yet to see the new numbers, but both players were expected to take a pay cut.

Vilma and Smith were central figures in the Saints' seemingly never-ending bounty scandal last season, but what's unclear is how they will fit in the team's new 3-4 defense. Vilma turns 31 next month, and Smith turns 32 in July. Neither has the ability to disrupt an offense the way they used to, but New Orleans -- not exactly overflowing with defensive talent -- is hoping there's something left.

UPDATE: The Times-Picayune reported Tuesday night that Smith's 2013 base salary was dropped from $9 million to $3 million, and Vilma's dropped from $4.8 million to $1 million.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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