Bradley Handwerger / Sports Reporter
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METAIRIE, La. The Saints' salary cap woes nearly kept the team on the sideline this year during the free agency carousel.

Instead, New Orleans was able to bring in cornerback Keenan Lewis, linebacker Victor Butler and defensive end Kenyon Coleman.

If you were surprised by that, you weren't alone.

'We went into free agency thinking we really weren't going to get any players except for the lower-priced guys, guys that were looking for opportunity more than a longer-term deal,' Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis said. 'Even Keenan was a bit of a surprise that we were able to get into that market and maneuver our salary cap to be able to sign him.'

Loomis admitted as much on Tuesday during the team's pre-draft news conference.

New Orleans sits just $1.6 million away from the $123 million salary cap the league set for 2013. Only three other teams sit in a more precarious position.

That's just for 2013, too. New Orleans will have its fair share of work before the 2014 season, as well.

But Loomis said the team entered this offseason knowing exactly where it sat.

'I would say we're handcuffed,' he said. 'But we went into that with our eyes wide open. We knew a year and a half ago that we were going to be tight against the cap for this season and even to next season to some degree.'

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