With the new CBA being ratified on Sunday, the Atlanta Falcons are finally starting up a crucial offseason. Rumors are they will release Desmond Trufant when the league year starts Wednesday.
Although Thomas Dimitroff continues to say that the Atlanta Falcons are not in the so-called “cap hell”, no one will believe him until the front office starts to make some roster changes to free up some cash. Spotrac has the Falcons at 31st in the NFL in cap space with a mere $721,554 available, only in front of the Pittsburgh Steelers who are in the negative.
The Falcons are going to have to make some important and tough cuts if they want to be players in free agency plus have enough room to sign their rookie class. Here are four additional players that are on the Falcons’ chopping block now that the new CBA is in place:
Back in 2017, Thomas Dimitroff and company decided that their 2018 5th round draft pick would be best spent on a disappointing swing tackle that couldn’t win a job in Denver, especially after being destroyed and benched in week 5 of the 2016 campaign by Vic Beasley Jr (gasp). After being a backup and taking over for the overly disappointing Ryan Schraeder in the final four games of 2018, Sambrailo got a nice pay raise with a three-year extension worth $14.25 million.
Shockingly, he has not lived up to his contract like another offensive lineman this front office has decided to give money to (looking at you James Carpenter and Jamon Brown), and the Falcons would save a little over $3.7 million by cutting him.
Last offseason, the Falcons decided to bring in Bailey from Kansas City to provide some much-needed depth and a veteran presence to the defensive line, giving him a 2-year deal worth $10.5 million. However, Bailey didn’t necessarily light up the stat sheet, only recording one sack and a combined 26 tackles. This was not enough to even consider paying him for the 2020 season, and the Falcons can save nearly $4.5 million by cutting him.
An interesting case is running back Devonta Freeman. A fourth-round pick out of Florida State, Freeman developed into a top rushing and receiving option in the league. But after the Falcons made him the highest-paid running back in 2017, injuries started to pile on for the physical runner that Freeman is and quickly became one of the worst contracts the Falcons had given out, and Devonta just hasn’t looked the same since the infamous Super Bowl missed block.
The committee of Brian Hill and Ito Smith along with a deep running back draft class should be enough for the front office and fans alike to cut their losses and wish Freeman the best, which would save the Falcons $3.5 million now, or since the new CBA is in place, they could opt to designate him as a post-June 1st cut, which would save them an additional $3 million.
Although just signed the last offseason, Carpenter could be another option for a post-June 1st cut after not living up to his contract in 2019. With a healthy Chris Lindstrom and Jamon Brown already on the books, Carpenter would be way overpaid to be a backup. If the Atlanta Falcons do indeed push his cut to after June 1st, they could save another $2.75 million and look for another backup interior lineman in the draft or free agency.
Overall, the Falcons have some tough choices to make if they want to spend some money in free agency and fill some keyholes that are needed to make a playoff push in 2020.