Atlanta Falcons have to create cap space going into offseason


If something doesn’t change in the front office, it’s going to get worse for the Atlanta Falcons before it gets better.

If the Atlanta Falcons want to compete for a playoff spot next year, no matter who’s the coach, there are some serious holes on the team that need to be fixed. But with the current cap space, the Falcons don’t have what it takes to spend big on free agents.

So, once again they will be forced to rely on young talent and draft picks while losing some veteran players. That’s not the solution for immediate success.

The Falcons have about $5.4 million in cap space according to Spotrac. Going into next year, they dip into the negatives. Meaning some shedding of contracts has to happen, some key players will go unsigned, and it’s going to be up to a new regime (hopefully) to right the ship.

Sure, let’s give Dan Quinn one more year, to the chagrin of a lot of fans (not necessarily the locker room), but that doesn’t solve the financial issues. The Falcons rewarded some players on their team, right or wrong, with fat contracts. And while it worked to keep them around, in the end, it’s going to be costly.

Julio Jones and Matt Ryan each signed record deals. Grady Jarrett and Deion Jones got buckets of money, and one could argue rightfully so. But Devonta Freeman hasn’t lived up to his at all.

So, what do the Atlanta Falcons do now? It’s highly unlikely they’re going to be able to afford to bring Austin Hooper back. Which is unfortunate because he’s turned into a favorite target for Matt Ryan. You also have Calvin Ridley who’s going to be looking for a new deal too in the near future.

That means vets are going to be on the chopping block or not resigned at all. Players like De’Vondre Campbell, Justin Hardy, Matt Bosher, Adrian Clayborn, and the ever so enigmatic Vic Beasley. The Falcons can’t keep both him and Takk McKinley and honestly, they shouldn’t.

If they had to choose, they should go with Beasley. He’s injured far less often, and despite his inability of consistent production, he’s more flexible and can play multiple positions better than McKinley can.

This all sets up for an Atlanta Falcons roster that will look much younger and differently next year. Atlanta will have to be willing to walk away from its bigger names, Desmond Trufant, Keanu Neal, Alex Mack, and Austin Hooper.

They have to rely on their talent development and hope guys like Jordan Miller and Kendall Sheffield come along. Along with Isaiah Oliver and Foye Oluokun.

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Because it’ll be on their shoulders to produce. And if they aren’t up for the task, next season could be even worse than the past two.