The New Orleans Saints are paying the price for being a very good, competitive team. Literally.

Years of smart drafting and deft free agent signings have made the team competitive for the better part of a decade, with a Super Bowl coming in 2009. Now, the franchise is trying to figure out how to keep the band together, per the Times-Picayune.

The Saints have a plethora of free agents to try and re-sign this offseason, led by tight end Jimmy Graham. By far the best at his position, Graham is going to break the bank and deservedly so. Other free agents of note include center Brian De La Puente, corner Malcolm Jenkins and tackle Zach Strief.

With next year's salary cap projected to be $126 million, New Orleans is already $12 million over that figure. On the positive side, the Saints' largest contract belongs to quarterback Drew Brees, who is scheduled to make $18.4 million in 2014-15 before seeing his cap hit spike to $26.4 and $27.4 the following two seasons. Luckily, Brees has said he is very willing to restructure his contract to help the team's financial situation.

A few potential cuts could start with defensive end Will Smith and running back Pierre Thomas. Cutting Smith - who didn't play in 2013 due to injury - would save the Saints $11.5 million while Thomas is due $2.9 million but can be cut without a penalty. Wide receiver Lance Moore could also be a cap causality, saving the team $2.5 million but also giving them some dead money against the cap. He wouldn't be an easy decision like Smith.