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The Atlanta Falcons Prepare to Enter Salary Cap **** in 2020

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Welp... Here we go...

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As the Falcons fell to 1-6 with the 37-10 loss to a Rams team that was on a three game skid, I was inspired to turn towards 2020 to look at how this Falcons team and their terrible defense can potentially make a change.

Currently, they’re slated to be $8.7 million over the cap and largely because of some massive investments at the top of their salary cap. And that’s before you take into account the $9.6 million team is currently projected to spend on their 2020 draft picks.

Matt Ryan and Julio Jones will consume 27% of their cap in 2020. Steve Young and Jerry Rice set the Super Bowl record for a champion’s Top 2 cap expenses at 21.84% in 1994. Young’s cap hit of 13.1% is the highest cap hit for any Super Bowl champion in the 25 seasons of the salary cap era.

An astute 49ers organization re-signed 17 players in December 1993 to avoid the cap, so they kind of cheated the cap. This makes Matt Ryan’s 16.8% cap hit, and the QB market rates in general, even more crazy.

If you add Jake Matthews, Grady Jarrett, and Desmond Trufant, the Falcons top 5 cap hits will consume 50.6% of the cap. The Super Bowl record was set by the 2002 Bucs. Warren Sapp, Brad Johnson, Simeon Rice, Derrick Brooks, and Jeff Christy combined for 38.4% of the cap.

If you add Alex Mack, Deion Jones, Devonta Freeman, Mohammad Sanu, and Ricardo Allen, the Falcons top 10 cap hits consume a shocking 73.6% of the cap.

The 2015 Broncos have the cap era record for champions in spending 62.3% of the cap on Peyton Manning, Demaryius Thomas, Ryan Clady, Von Miller, Demarcus Ware, Aqib Talib, Louis Vasquez, Emmanuel Sanders, and Chris Harris, Jr.

Demaryius Thomas’ cap hit of 9.2% is the record for wide receivers and #2 cap hits on champions. Jones’ cap hit of 10.2% will be a percentage point higher.

When you consider why the Falcons defense is so horrible, you can look towards the low-percentage situation they’ve put themselves in. They were heavily reliant on too many low-probability things working out for them.

For offensive skill players, Ryan, Jones, Freeman, and Sanu consume 35.8% of the cap. Add Matthews and Mack, the team has 49% invested in six veteran offensive players. The team spent a first round pick in 2018 on another receiver, Calvin Ridley. There is so much invested in this offense and it has impacted the defense.

Over the last two seasons, an organization that has known defense was a weakness since their Super Bowl loss to the Patriots, has invested three first round picks in offensive players over the last two years: Ridley, plus linemen Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary.

In the five drafts since 2015, the team has only had 32 draft picks, that’s eight less than the league average. Eight less opportunities to draft defensive players and instead have to take a larger chance on an undrafted player.

The team has become fully committed to their strategy for success: pass for more production than anyone else. It’s a valid idea for a strategy for success, but we’ve already seen Drew Brees play out this 7-9 reality when his defenses were terrible from 2012 through 2016.

It feels like some tough decisions should have been made over the last couple years like recognizing the crazy investment totals in 2020 and the likely need to trade Julio Jones who wanted a new contract.

He’s having a good season by anyone’s standards, but before this week, he’s already a bad value for the team as he’s produced about $12 million in value versus his $22 million average per year. That’s $22 million number is based on the player Jones was in his late-20s, the end of a receivers prime years. It’s not based in the reality of who he will be in the future.

Trufant is producing $9.4 million in value below his contract value, so two big investments aren’t working out great. Add the rest of the group in though too. Jarrett, Mack, Allen, Ryan, Matthews, Freeman, and Deion Jones are all producing below their value. Sanu is the only player in the Top 10 producing more than his contract value.

This is just an unfortunate truth of NFL contracts. Most second contracts will be proven to be bad values by Jason’s standard because of the extremely undervalued prices of everyone who basically contributes at all while on a rookie contract.

What the organization seemed to fail to recognize in all of this is the value that Kyle Shanahan provided to the organization during that 2016 season. Ryan and Jones had similarly massive cap hits during that year, but because of that trademark Shanahan offense, he was able to pull out the most extreme value out of that offense. The defense was still poor, but Shanahan made their offense the NFL’s highest scoring, not just the most prolific at passing.

That offense was ranked fifth in rushing with Freeman and Tevin Coleman leading an attack that ran for 4.6 per carry, rather than the 3.8 it’s churning at this year. It’s no secret that the Shanahan offense is terrific.

Even with Shanahan though, this 2020 team would be in a lot of trouble. The issue with spending $146.7 million on your Top 10 is an over-reliance on accepting sub-optimal players on the rest of the roster due to costs. Atlanta already has $3 million in dead money costs next year with potentially more dead money charges to come considering the need to get under the cap next year.

If the salary cap is $200 million, the Falcons have $51 million, or just 25.5% of the cap, to spend on the 43 other roster spots. That’s just $1.19 million or 0.59% of the cap per player to invest.

The team currently has just 40 players under contract AND they’re already projected to be over by $18.3 million when factoring in draft picks!

If the salary cap is $200 million, the Falcons have $51 million, or just 25.5% of the cap, to spend on the 43 other roster spots. That’s just $1.19 million or 0.59% of the cap per player to invest.

The team currently has just 40 players under contract AND they’re already projected to be over by $18.3 million when factoring in draft picks!

After the Top 10 players, the team has 12 players making over $1 million. When factoring in those 12 players, the Top 22 cap hits for the Falcons consume all but $1.95 million of a $200 million cap.

So an NFL team has 53 players on a roster, the Falcons are spending $198.05 million on 22 players, plus dead money. This leaves the team with $1.95 million for 31 players, which leaves $62,903 per player.

If the team does a complete fire sale and moves on from Mack, Freeman, Sanu, Allen, Keanu Neal, and Allen Bailey, that saves $32.125 million, which brings that total to $34.075 million in cap space. That’s still just $1.1 million per player, which, especially considering all the talent they’d be ridding themselves of in that scenario, likely makes them one of the worst teams in the NFL next year.

I have no idea what the Falcons are going to do to right the ship right now and I don’t think they do either.

Welcome to salary cap helI. We’ve been waiting for you.

https://overthecap.com/the-atlanta-falcons-bleak-outlook-in-2020/

A lot of us have been talking about it, but there are going to be some very real cuts/decisions made going into next year. This is solely why I'm on board with a new GM on top of a new HC. We need a full reset. Clean house. Accept that 2020 may be just as bad as this season. This is not going to be a quick turn around. The Falcons have had one of the oldest rosters in the league since DQ took over. Consistently. They were the second oldest team last year and the fifth oldest this year. This is a maxed out roster as is and they are 1-6. Blow it up. 

We need a GM who is looking at this as a 3-5 year runway. Yes, Matt is here and still kicking, but this is no different than the Saints in those numerous 7-9 years. As long as he's the QB, this can be a competing team so long as the next GM doesn't box this roster into the same situation we are in now. Guys like Trufant, Freeman, Sanu, and maybe even Mack need to be moved on from. Those four guys alone account for $43MM in cap hits in 2020. That doesn't include guys like Sambrailo, Stocker, and Schaub or any restructures. Strap in ladies and gents. It may get ugly before it gets better. 

Shelley#37, Flyin' In DC and mqg96 like this

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2 minutes ago, Jesus said:

Eh

Funny how teams are supposed to enter "salary cap ****" but never really do. 

They aren't just yet, but they aren't in a pretty picture as it stands. Right now, 50% of the Falcons 2020 cap goes to Matt, Julio, Grady, Jake, and Trufant. Just five players. That is a very top heavy cap situation. No other team is built like that right now. 

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Just now, vel said:

They aren't just yet, but they aren't in a pretty picture as it stands. Right now, 50% of the Falcons 2020 cap goes to Matt, Julio, Grady, Jake, and Trufant. Just five players. That is a very top heavy cap situation. No other team is built like that right now. 

No but there is a new contract on the way for the Union. If that isn't sorted out then there will probably be a strike...yay! 

Expect the new contract to:

  1. Expand the salary cap
  2. Make it harder for rookies to make even more money
  3. Push for roster expansion 
  4. Make practice even more safe
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1 minute ago, vel said:

They aren't just yet, but they aren't in a pretty picture as it stands. Right now, 50% of the Falcons 2020 cap goes to Matt, Julio, Grady, Jake, and Trufant. Just five players. That is a very top heavy cap situation. No other team is built like that right now. 

So let me ask...as honestly I have the attention span of a gnat this morning.

Does this account for the rising salary cap?

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Just now, falconsd56 said:

So let me ask...as honestly I have the attention span of a gnat this morning.

Does this account for the rising salary cap?

The league is looking to become a $20 billion revenue machine in the next five years. At that point, if it still exists, the salary cap will be huge. The revenue share each team gets from the NFL usually equals what their salary cap numbers are. Frankly teams shouldn't have to worry about dipping into profits. Every NFL team is profitable. 

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10 minutes ago, falconsd56 said:

So let me ask...as honestly I have the attention span of a gnat this morning.

Does this account for the rising salary cap?

Yep. It's assuming the cap goes to $200MM in 2020. Right now, those five guys I pointed out account for $101MM in cap hits. 

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Just now, Dr Long Shot said:

Weren't the Saints supposed to be in unfixable salary-cap purgatory for the remaining of Breese's contract? How has that worked out for them?

They went 7-9 three straight seasons. Let's not act like they weren't a very mediocre team for some time while they figured it out with some of the worst defenses the NFL has ever seen in the process.

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4 minutes ago, Dr Long Shot said:

Weren't the Saints supposed to be in unfixable salary-cap purgatory for the remaining of Breese's contract? How has that worked out for them?

Truth.

Extensions, cuts, etc. it all works out in the end....

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Just now, vel said:

They went 7-9 three straight seasons. Let's not act like they weren't a very mediocre team for some time while they figured it out with some of the worst defenses the NFL has ever seen in the process.

Yeah...  But they still spent money....alot of it

They gave Byrd a big dead when they were supposed to be in the negative.

They have Brees 30 million when they were suppose to be around 1million in space.

 

 

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Regardless of what happens with coaches and the FO/GM; it’s not as dire as it looks:

^This guy listed every scenario of how you can get 2020 and beyond on track without losing anyone you weren’t planning to; other than maybe Sanu who is now like 5th in targets behind JJ/CR/Hoop/RB targets...

I disagree with him on Mack but he is getting long in the tooth and we need a new C by 2021 most likely. Without cutting Mack, this puts us $30M under before Hooper and the UFA/Draft.

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27 minutes ago, vel said:

They aren't just yet, but they aren't in a pretty picture as it stands. Right now, 50% of the Falcons 2020 cap goes to Matt, Julio, Grady, Jake, and Trufant. Just five players. That is a very top heavy cap situation. No other team is built like that right now. 

Matthews, Trufant, Allen, Freeman 

Brotherhood contracts

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Just now, KRUNKuno said:

Matthews, Trufant, Allen, Freeman 

Brotherhood contracts

3 of them as fairly easy cuts after this year.

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3 minutes ago, falconsd56 said:

Yeah...  But they still spent money....alot of it

They gave Byrd a big dead when they were supposed to be in the negative.

They have Brees 30 million when they were suppose to be around 1million in space.

 

 

A lot of it is gamesmanship. Byrd's contract was big number wise, but they structured it like a 3 yr deal and then cut him post June 1st. With Brees, they used voidable contract years to game the system. Same thing Howie uses sometimes in Philly. 

There are ways around it. Admittedly. But the pain is going to come at some point. Even with all of the games Loomis played in New Orleans, they still had a lopsided roster because of it. 

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This roster is going to look a whole lot different next year. At this point you would think the smart move is getting trades done. Trim the fat

Do you think AB and McKay get a new GM in the very near future?

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3 minutes ago, KRUNKuno said:

Matthews, Trufant, Allen, Freeman 

Brotherhood contracts

 

2 minutes ago, Ergo Proxy said:

3 of them as fairly easy cuts after this year.

This is why I'm for trading Trufant as soon as possible. Get it over with. Allen may be gone. Freeman should be gone. Matthews is hard to replace. Competent LTs don't grow on trees. 

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Just now, vel said:

 

This is why I'm for trading Trufant as soon as possible. Get it over with. Allen may be gone. Freeman should be gone. Matthews is hard to replace. Competent LTs don't grow on trees. 

Matthews is having a down year but we changed scheme and 3 starters. He can rebound.

Trade Tru if someone is willing to pay his base salaries, but it’s the same cap savings either way. Free same boat.

Vic and Sanu are more attractive trade pieces.

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2 minutes ago, Ergo Proxy said:

Matthews is having a down year but we changed scheme and 3 starters. He can rebound.

Trade Tru if someone is willing to pay his base salaries, but it’s the same cap savings either way. Free same boat.

Vic and Sanu are more attractive trade pieces.

Yep pretty much. If you can get something for Tru. Do it. Same with Sanu. This one is over. Start planning for what's next. Don't be stupid like you were with Vic and miss out on an opportunity to get a return. 

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Wait. . . I’m supposed to be worried about cutting guys from this team?????   

Whats the downside—we go from 2-14 this year to -3 and 19 in ‘20?

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3 minutes ago, vel said:

Yep pretty much. If you can get something for Tru. Do it. Same with Sanu. This one is over. Start planning for what's next. Don't be stupid like you were with Vic and miss out on an opportunity to get a return. 

If we can somehow add a couple mid round picks or better for Vic, Sanu and possibly Tru? No brainer.

Keep playing the young CBs and hopefully get Lindstrom cleared to play this year. More Cominsky, Foye and Grace please. If we traded Vic, just promote Larkin. Same for Blake to replace Sanu’s roster spot.

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Just now, Ergo Proxy said:

If we can somehow add a couple mid round picks or better for Vic, Sanu and possibly Tru? No brainer.

Keep playing the young CBs and hopefully get Lindstrom cleared to play this year. More Cominsky, Foye and Grace please. If we traded Vic, just promote Larkin. Same for Blake to replace Sanu’s roster spot.

Exactly. It's not rocket science. Pride clouds judgement though. Could have had a third for Vic last year but that boat has sailed. Get what you can for Sanu right now. Tru too. You've seen Sheffield is more than capable of filling in right now for the rest of the season. The defense won't be any worse. Get Miller some reps too. 

Agreed on Cominsky and Foye and Grace too. Agreed on Larkin. Shlt you drafted Ollison and don't play him. Hill doesn't even snaps. What is going on? 

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