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Whew, alright, we got the bad out of the way so we can start talking about the good things Atlanta has done with their cap. And, the good news is that while there are more bad contracts than good ones, the good ones are so good they may just make up for it.
The Falcons got some really good contributions from young players last season, which is the holy grail of good cap management. With the new collective bargaining agreement, the best value you can get is to draft a young player and get production out him right away.
There’s plenty to like about the salary cap position the Falcons are in, and these are the best contracts on their books heading into the 2014 offseason.
Paul Worrilow and Joplo Bartu, OLB ($495,000 cap number each)
Yup, that’s right, the Falcons could end up starting two formerly undrafted rookie free agents at outside linebacker next season, and for a total combined cap number of just under one million. That’s the kind of cap management that can give your team flexibility to upgrade at other positions all over the field.
Justin Blalock, G ($7.6 million cap number)
Justin Blalock is the perfect example of why a big cap number isn’t always a bad thing. The only reliable offensive lineman on the team last year, Blalock is worth every cent of his over $7 million cap number.
Offensive line is often the most overlooked part of an NFL team, but after a year like the Falcons had in 2013 everyone is reminded just how important the big boys up front are. Atlanta would be smart to start allocating more cap dollars to quality offensive lineman, they make underpaid skill position players suddenly look much better than they have in the past.
Desmond Trufant, CB ($1.855 million cap number)
Desmond Trufant has quickly become the best defensive back on the Falcons, and is on his way towards becoming one of the best in the NFL. He’s a great reminder of why drafting well is so important. Some day he’ll cost big money, but for now he’s on his rookie deal and is a great value for Atlanta.