AJC: A quick look at the Falcons’ salary cap situation

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AJC: A quick look at the Falcons’ salary cap situation

Postby Pudge » Sun Jan 19, 2014 11:04 am

http://atlantafalcons.blog.ajc.com/2014 ... situation/

Posted: 6:00 am Friday, January 17th, 2014
A quick look at the Falcons’ salary cap situation
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By D. Orlando Ledbetter

The Falcons could enter free agency, which starts March 11, flushed with enough cash to make some major moves and some minor tweaks.
However, Falcons owner Arthur Blank has already sounded the fire alarm about free agency spending. “I think the emphasis will be on the draft and college free agents and the selective use of free agency,” Blank said recently.
So those notions of adding Carolina defensive end Greg Hardy, Washington linebacker Brian Orakpo and Kansas City offensive lineman Branden Albert are probably just delusional fan dreams.
Clearly, having been burned in free agency by the Dunta Robinson and Ray Edwards free agency deals, the Falcons plan to proceed with caution.
The Falcons have 55 players signed, but counting the top 51, per league rules, the Falcons are at $118.7 million against the 2014 cap, according to NFLPA documents. The cap for next season is projected to increase 2.6 percent, to $126.3 million.
When Tony Gonzalez’s $7 million comes off the books, the Falcons will have $14.6 million of available cap space.
They would have the flexibility to be a major player in free agent should they elect to cut several veterans who could give them up to $18.2 million in additional salary-cap space, which could bring their available total to $32.8 million.
“There are a variety of ways that you can bring change to your roster,” Blank said. “You can release players.”
The Falcons could elect to part ways with cornerback Asante Samuel (saving $4.5 million), safety Thomas DeCoud ($4.2 million), running back Steven Jackson ($3 million), linebacker Stephen Nicholas ($3 million) and defensive end Osi Umenyiora ($3.5 million).
General manager Thomas Dimitroff calls them “salary-cap casualties,” and it’s a league-wide practice. Here’s what he had to say after the team released Michael Turner, Dunta Robinson and John Abraham last season on March 1.
“I believe in the NFL today, so-called cap casualties are an issue for every team unless you’re at the top of the heap with $30 million to $40 million dollars available,” he said. “It’s something that we will get into as we continue to analyze and re-evaluate this roster as it stands.”
The Falcons also can create more room by renegotiating the contracts of wide receiver Roddy White ($6.3 against the 2014 cap) and left guard Justin Blalock’s contracts ($7.6 million against the cap) and possibly get as much as $40 million under the cap.
PAYROLL MATTERS
A look at the Falcons’ 10 highest salary-cap numbers entering the offseason
Name, Pos.; Cap number
Matt Ryan, QB; $17.5 million
Justin Blalock, LG; $7.6 million
Roddy White, WR; $6.3 million
Sam Baker, LT; $6.05 million
Julio Jones, WR; $5.1 million
William Moore, SS; $5.1 million
Asante Samuel, CB; $5.1 million
Thomas DeCoud, FS; $4.8 million
Osi Umenyiora, DE; $4.75 million
Stephen Nicholas, LB; $4.0 million
Source: NFL Players Association documents
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.

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Re: AJC: A quick look at the Falcons’ salary cap situation

Postby thescout » Sun Jan 19, 2014 12:04 pm

If this is true and Arthur really does feel the Falcs must build through the draft and college free agents we are probably looking at 2-3 yrs to get good prospects for both defense and offense. TD's track record isn't something to boast about the last 6 yrs in the draft. This happens to be a year where there are some quality def ends in free agency which most times pickings are slim. If the Falcs sit on the sidelines and let the young talented def ends go somewhere else without trying to sign them then does management really want to win? We had Seattle last year add Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett to an already good defense. The Falcs thought they could get similar production from Osi when they let Abe go. Again it back fired and the Falcons defense looks worse.

It's not hard to figure out why the Falcs don't have many players on def and the off line that are quality players.Quality to me means creating mismatches and it just isn't happening. How many of the Falcon's players on defense and off line could start for the better teams like San Fran and Seattle? If you want to win you must go through those teams for a championship.
It isn't very encouraging as a fan knowing your team will sit on the sidelines going after grade B free agents. Sometimes you just have to open the piggy bank up for core players when the timing is right. It's hard to find young quality def ends and if you can get one without having to give up top draft picks then do it. We know the Falcs need help with a pass rush. Since we have so many holes on the off line and defense and a limited number of draft picks how do we plan on building the team just through the draft and signing grade B free agents. I guess we are back to the days of the Anthony Redman's coming to the Falcons.
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Re: AJC: A quick look at the Falcons’ salary cap situation

Postby Pudge » Sun Jan 19, 2014 12:26 pm

I don't think it's necessarily bad if the Falcons sit on the sidelines as the big money FAs go in that first week. The Falcons have another $100 million contract looming with Julio Jones in the next 12 months, so it is in fact fiscal responsibility to not go out and give out some $40-60 million contract to a defensive end.

The issue is when he Falcons are making these "B-level" free agents as you term it, they aren't getting good players and contributors. Michael Bennett, Aqib Talib, and Brent Grimes all signed 1-yr. $5 million deals. Each of those players far outperformed those contracts last year, while the Falcons didn't spend that much more on Steven Jackson and Osi Umenyiora, and they underperformed their contracts.

The bottom line is whether the Falcons go after a big time FA or a low level guy, they need to start getting a return on their investment. This team hasn't had that sort of return on a major free agent signing since Michael Turner six years ago.
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.

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Re: AJC: A quick look at the Falcons’ salary cap situation

Postby DaveWaz » Sun Jan 19, 2014 1:15 pm

The more I think about it, we really have been bad in FA, Pudge is right since Turner it's been dud after dud.......
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Re: AJC: A quick look at the Falcons’ salary cap situation

Postby thescout » Sun Jan 19, 2014 4:44 pm

I agree Pudge the quality of player whether an A type or B type of player makes a difference. It comes back to talent evaluation and I have to question TD's ability to do his job.
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Re: AJC: A quick look at the Falcons’ salary cap situation

Postby dirtybirdnw » Mon Jan 20, 2014 1:53 pm

Aside from some of the biggest names in free agency last year a lot of players didn't get snatched up after the first week. In many cases players hung around longer than most expected and didn't get what many thought would be market rate.

It's never a bad idea to sit out the first couple days or week of free agency and let the market settle down. Players like Hardy & Bennett are likely to go early and probably over market price given their performances this past season.
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Re: AJC: A quick look at the Falcons’ salary cap situation

Postby MarylandFalcon1 » Mon Jan 20, 2014 1:59 pm

We are between a rock and a hard place with Julio. He is everything you want in a receiver, but having that foot broken in the same place twice is really more than a simple concern. It is something you 'come back from stronger', and physicians indicate that it will break again, and with this size and they way he plays he really might only have between 12-16 injury free games left in his career in my opinion.
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Re: AJC: A quick look at the Falcons’ salary cap situation

Postby RobertAP » Mon Jan 20, 2014 2:04 pm

My feelings on FA is that you use FA to fill holes, you don't build your team around FA acquisitions. We did build our team around Turner in that first year, and we've repeatedly tried using FAs to anchor the defensive line. The Falcons HAVE TO do a better job drafting. They also need to focus their free agency efforts on mid-level talent that can come in and perform at an average level for a couple of years.

Occasionally, you get lucky in free agency and snag someone who's a solid fit for your system, even though they might not be for other teams. My primary issue with the Falcons for Smith/Dimitroff era has been that they don't seem to be on the same page in terms of defining their system. We want to lean on our run game, but we passed more than any other team this year. We want to lean on the run game, but we invested several draft picks in one WR.

These guys are either not on the same page, or they're incompetent.


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