The New Orleans Saints have exercised the fifth-year option on the contract of safety Kenny Vaccaro, according to NFL Media’s Albert Breer.
Vaccaro was drafted by the Saints with the 15th overall pick of the 2013 draft and and he is now under contract through the 2017 season. He is the first player from the 2013 draft class to officially have his option picked up. Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman has said that the team will pick up the fifth-year option for defensive tackle Star Lotulelei. The deadline for picking up a player’s fifth-year option is May 3.
As the 15th overall pick, Vaccaro’s salary will be the average of the third through 25th-highest salaries at the safety position. He should get paid approximately $5.6 million in 2017. This coming season, which was the final year of his $9.4 million rookie contract, Vaccaro is set to make $1.6 million. His $1.3 million prorated signing bonus will count $2.9 million against the cap this season.
He went so far as to say that he didn’t even feel safe going home anymore, noting he flies in and right back out again whenever he has to visit. He also talked about how kids don’t get the same kind of investment that the city puts into hosting larger-than-life festivals, and added that he’s planning to give back to the community.
Despite his emotional plea for the city he calls home, Mathieu acknowledged he doesn’t have all the answers either, but that starting a discussion and raising awareness was at least somewhere to start. This sentiment was echoed by the head coach of the New Orleans Saints, Sean Payton.
Payton spoke from the heart on Monday to USA TODAY Sports about the dangers of guns and — in a rare move by a current coach — about his political beliefs. “I’m not an extreme liberal,” Payton said. “I find myself leaning to the right on some issues. But on this issue, I can’t wrap my brain around it.”
It was depicted as a raw conversation, in which Payton discussed the events that led to Will Smith’s death just days earlier. The head coach couldn’t sleep after he got the news late Saturday night, and he later stopped by the hospital in support of Smith’s wife and family.
“It’s like our big little secret,” Payton said, in his call with USA TODAY Sports. “They don’t want to kill tourism. But right now, it’s like the Wild, Wild West here.
“I don’t know how he felt about guns,” Payton said. “I know he loved this city. And I know he was going to be a heck of a coach. He had such a presence about him. Not only would he have made the transition to be a great defensive line coach, he had all the tools to become a head coach.”
Smith was going to be a coaching intern for the Saints this season.