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Scared of Cap HeIl? Come See What's Inside...


vel
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A lot of fuss is being made of the cap right now. Rightfully so. This team is spiraling and headed for a complete rebuild. For some, they are too impatient to make the moves required that may force the Falcons on the sideline for 2020, but would be good in the long run. We haven't seen this team in this position before. A tight cap for a team that needs to strip the foundation to the studs and build anew. But there is one team that recently completed this task and is currently 5-1 and trending towards a highly unexpected playoff berth:

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BUFFALO BILLS

For the first time in several years, the Buffalo Bills have a deep and talented roster which has been well-coached to an impressive 5-1 record to start the year. General Manager Brandon Beane had an aggressive offseason after a 2018 season that handcuffed his ability to make moves given Buffalo absorbed over $50 million in dead cap space. 

Beane completely re-built Buffalo’s offense. The only Week One starter from 2018 that is still on the roster this season is left tackle and team captain Dion Dawkins. Outside of Dawkins and QB Josh Allen, literally every other starter was acquired by Beane in the offseason. Among the marquee pick ups include wide receivers John Brown and Cole Beasley while Mitch Morse, Jon Feliciano and Quinton Spain have helped stabilize the offensive line. Brown has proven to be one of the top free agent signees in the entire league and he’s currently on pace for 88 receptions and over 1,200 yards. Beane should also be applauded for retaining DT Jordan Phillips on a modest one-year deal who has been a major factor for Buffalo in the defensive front seven. And while jokes were made when he was signed running back Frank Gore is Buffalo’s starter and is on pace 1,000 rushing yards. 

Beane’s 2019 Draft haul included Day One starters in defensive tackle Ed Oliver and offensive tackle Cody Ford while RB Devin Singletary, TE Dawson Knox and DE Darryl Johnson all fill important roles already. 

Beane is armed with nine picks in the upcoming draft and Buffalo is currently projected to have nearly $90 million in cap space next offseason which is the fourth-most in the NFL. The resources are there for Beane to keep aggressively shaping Buffalo’s roster after an A+ offseason leading into 2019. 

$50M in dead cap space forced the Bills to watch. They drafted Josh Allen to a very bare offensive roster. But Beane didn't let that deter him, in hopes of trying to be mildly competitive in 2018 instead of facing the reality. He faced the music in his first year, letting him get a clean look at what needs to be done in 2019 to remake the Bills. Once they worked through that dead cap, they came out the other side with one of the better cap situations in the entire NFL. 

They built an entire OL in one offseason. They rebuilt the entire WR corps in one offseason. They invested in rebuilding their front seven. But none of that could have happened without them staring down the barrel of the cap heIl gun and not flinching at doing what needed to be done. The only guy on offense they kept was a 24 year old OT in Dawkins. They almost considered moving DiMarco, but decided it was a smart move to at least keep some semblance of a run game after adding Gore. 

If TD is too nervous about accepting 2020 being a postseason-less year, the third in a row, he needs to go. This cap situation is not ideal and the piper needs to be paid to clean it up for 2021 and beyond. Looking at the 2021 cap, the Falcons currently have 26 players and $28MM in space. They currently have 14 draft picks between the next two drafts, which puts you at a 40 player roster with around $20MM spent in cap space. But what needs to be looked at is the potential contracts you can get off the books this coming offseason. The following players realistically should be gone by 2021 and their 2021 cap hits:

Trufant ($16M), Freeman ($9.25M), Allen ($8.38M), Brown ($7.8M), Carpenter ($6.5M), Sambrailo ($5.3M). 

Combined, that's $53M in cap space for six players that are barely contributing to the wellbeing of this team long term. $53MM that could be reallocated to rounding out the roster. At that point, you would only have five contracts with cap hits above $5MM (six assuming they sign Hooper to a deal; seven depending on the draft pick this year). Compare that to the 15 players we had making over $5M going into this season, before trading Sanu. And all of those cuts above can be made in 2020 with net positive cap impacts. And this assumes you don't trade anybody else for additional assets. So yes, you'd assume a good chunk of dead cap space in 2020. Ok. Keeping those six guys isn't making this Falcons team any better in their current form. If you can trade Trufant and/or Freeman this offseason, the dead cap is worth that sacrifice. Same with Alex Mack if somebody swings it. You guarantee yourself an additional pick in the process of gaining the cap space. 

There is a real possibility the Falcons could have around $60MM in cap space going into the 2021 offseason and no bad contracts to deal with. But they have to make the hard decisions this coming offseason. They started already, by moving Sanu. That was a stroke of brilliance. Rumors are brewing that they may move Campbell, which would be another stroke of brilliance. If they can move Vic for anything, that would potentially save TD's job and add to the cap to rollover. Even if it's a 7th rounder. But they need to be bold. The boogie man is here and the piper needs to be paid. It's fight or flight time. 

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This is it if they are to keep TD he’s done exactly the same as what you’ve posted but turned it around quick.

The biggest elephant in the room is AB has he enough patience with TD to go through this again with another coach.I’m not so sure.

I get the premise of taking the pain for a year with the roster we have while reloading.2008 right now seems like an eternity ago can it happen again in the ATL who knows.

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Looking closely at this roster and these big contracts for players who aren't making an impact, it should be pretty easy to see that 2020 is not going to be some incredible back-to-the-play-offs kind of season. Hopefully they can move all these guys, get these big contracts off the books and be ready to make a legit push for the Lombardi in 2021.

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4 minutes ago, kiwifalcon said:

This is it if they are to keep TD he’s done exactly the same as what you’ve posted but turned it around quick.

The biggest elephant in the room is AB has he enough patience with TD to go through this again with another coach.I’m not so sure.

I get the premise of taking the pain for a year with the roster we have while reloading.2008 right now seems like an eternity ago can it happen again in the ATL who knows.

Blank will definitely be a big hurdle. The pressure of having just built a new, shiny stadium just to not have any playoff games there for three years?! That's not what he signed up for. But the hand has been dealt. He can definitely derail it though. 

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2 minutes ago, PokerSteve said:

Looking closely at this roster and these big contracts for players who aren't making an impact, it should be pretty easy to see that 2020 is not going to be some incredible back-to-the-play-offs kind of season. Hopefully they can move all these guys, get these big contracts off the books and be ready to make a legit push for the Lombardi in 2021.

Exactly. Look at the big contracts. Those guys aren't living up to them. Accept that you made several, poor contractual mistakes, and start planning for the future. That's not 2020. That's 2021 and beyond. 

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2 minutes ago, PokerSteve said:

Looking closely at this roster and these big contracts for players who aren't making an impact, it should be pretty easy to see that 2020 is not going to be some incredible back-to-the-play-offs kind of season. Hopefully they can move all these guys, get these big contracts off the books and be ready to make a legit push for the Lombardi in 2021.

That's the thing though with the NFL, 2020 is not out of the question.  Quick turnarounds are entirely feasible, and it's not like the roster is complete trash.  We need the GM and Coach, whoever they will be, to hit on the draft though.  A solid draft accelerates things greatly.

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I totally agree. Whatever it takes in the near term to get us free of these awful contracts, the better. With a new staff coming in, having that cap flexibility and the extra picks in coming seasons is going be crucial to stocking up on that coach's kind of guys. 

I hope they get it right this time. This is it for Matt. Either they get it right, or he'll retire without another shot at a ring. 

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3 minutes ago, Ovie_Lover said:

Nah I heard we have negative 100 million and this team is doomed forever.

Some rumors that the situation is so desperate, Blank is in negotiations with Lucifer for a possible sale and franchise relocation to Hel.

They're trying to decide on a new name. Looks like it's a toss-up right now between, "Hel's Hot Wings" and "Satan's Swans."  :ninja::lol:

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5 minutes ago, vel said:

Exactly. Look at the big contracts. Those guys aren't living up to them. Accept that you made several, poor contractual mistakes, and start planning for the future. That's not 2020. That's 2021 and beyond. 

Yep. At least in 2020 nobody will be looking at the season with absurdly overblown expectations. I'm sure I'll be much more appreciative of the good things I see out of the team next season and will be far less upset at their shortcomings compared to this year. We'll know where we stand and know we're looking toward 2021. That should ease a lot of the pain.

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6 minutes ago, athell said:

That's the thing though with the NFL, 2020 is not out of the question.  Quick turnarounds are entirely feasible, and it's not like the roster is complete trash.  We need the GM and Coach, whoever they will be, to hit on the draft though.  A solid draft accelerates things greatly.

Not out of the question. But it shouldn't be expected. That's my point. They need to go into this thing eyes wide open. Not eyeing for a playoff berth in 2020. 

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1 minute ago, vel said:

Not out of the question. But it shouldn't be expected. That's my point. They need to go into this thing eyes wide open. Not eyeing for a playoff berth in 2020. 

Not expected, necessarily, but also not written off.  If you truly believe coaching is a large part of the issue, which I do, having the right guys in the right seats should make a big difference alone.  Nail the draft, acquire some good free agents, and you are back in business.  I just don't think 2020 should be written off as a wasted year just yet...that Bills roster was in much more dire straights than ours is/will be.

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12 minutes ago, vel said:

Blank will definitely be a big hurdle. The pressure of having just built a new, shiny stadium just to not have any playoff games there for three years?! That's not what he signed up for. But the hand has been dealt. He can definitely derail it though. 

What else is he going to do? Hope for a new regime to make the team competitive in 2020, and end up firing that squad another 5 years later when matt finally retires? Rhetorical question btw.

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5 minutes ago, athell said:

Not expected, necessarily, but also not written off.  If you truly believe coaching is a large part of the issue, which I do, having the right guys in the right seats should make a big difference alone.  Nail the draft, acquire some good free agents, and you are back in business.  I just don't think 2020 should be written off as a wasted year just yet...that Bills roster was in much more dire straights than ours is/will be.

Again, I'm not saying it should be accepted that it will be a wasted year. But they shouldn't go in aiming for a ten win season. The odds of it being 8-8 are much higher than them being playoff bound. It's similar to 2008. Nobody expected the playoffs. It happened and they were all glad, but if they had gone 8-8 that year, it would have been perfectly fine. 

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My biggest fear is that someone sells Blank on how they can fix this if we just do this and this without having to go through all THAT.

I mean hopefully that ship sailed with what happened this season because that's exactly what they did last year, but I'm not completely sold these days on AB's willingness to take the harder emotional road.

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Just now, vel said:

Again, I'm not saying it should be accepted that it will be a wasted year. But they shouldn't go in aiming for a ten win season. The odds of it being 8-8 are much higher than them being playoff bound. It's similar to 2008. Nobody expected the playoffs. It happened and they were all glad, but if they had gone 8-8 that year, it would have been perfectly fine. 

Gotcha.  Agreed.

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This is what I expected our 2021 outlook to be and we don’t have many rookies coming due; Kazee? Takk option year?

Pretty much expected we would increase drastically in cap space for 2021.

Key has been getting around 2020. A good draft and cuts/restructures as highlighted will point the ship in the right direction.

Will coaches, GM, draft picks and any 1-2 year stop gap signings next offseason be enough for a quick turnaround?

Making most of 2020 won’t be necessarily at cost of 2021 and beyond. Only things we may have to do are restructure Matthews and Ryan to free up space for 2020 to be competitive.

The draft picks and coaching will go a long way.

Speaking of sacks and pressures. Crawford subtlety called out coverages being bad on radio with Duke & Bell just now. Why aren’t there sacks? QB hasn’t been dropping back and waiting to throw essentially what he said. Aka ; look at how bad our coverage is!

I’m looking at Tru, Oliver, LBs and even Takk or Vic being asked to cover.

Tru is as good as gone even without a trade by Tuesday’s deadline; unless a new GM sees purpose in keeping him on vs gaining $5M space for 2020.

Sheffield and Oliver are going to get a long, hard look. Miller may get some snaps. Cominsky has been earning snaps early in the games. I want to see Foye and Grace get on the field as Vondre will walk. Neal playing on his option is really about risk reward for 1 year. Need a backup plan there if you keep him and should identify upgrades for a playmaker at FS.

Let’s see progression out of young players on D and determine the real short-term needs for the few FA moves we make out of house. Keep Hooper for his prime.

Offense really is about Mack’s departure timing, Lindstrom/McGary playing time this year if possible but Kaleb needed the most work as a rookie...and of course decision on RB future (Ito has been injury prone so far) so play Hill and QO.

WR just needs Ridley to keep progressing and Gage/Zaccheaus/Blake stepping up. Maybe Hardy is an inexpensive keep for one last year. Etc.

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16 minutes ago, TheUsualStuff said:

My biggest fear is that someone sells Blank on how they can fix this if we just do this and this without having to go through all THAT.

I mean hopefully that ship sailed with what happened this season because that's exactly what they did last year, but I'm not completely sold these days on AB's willingness to take the harder emotional road.

Hey, I think your fears are not without legit grounds. My gut feeling is he will wait until the end of the year before he makes a decision on firing Quinn. What if the team ends on a 3 or 4-game win streak? That might change everything and save his job, and TD's as well.

We could see something like another house-cleaning of most coaches ~ except Quinn. Impossible to predict, but if Quinn is still here after the bye week he may end up surviving this implosion and be able to hang around here for another couple years. (Perish the thought).

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14 minutes ago, TheUsualStuff said:

My biggest fear is that someone sells Blank on how they can fix this if we just do this and this without having to go through all THAT.

I mean hopefully that ship sailed with what happened this season because that's exactly what they did last year, but I'm not completely sold these days on AB's willingness to take the harder emotional road.

This is my biggest concern. We try and skirt it and go for a quick fix to "not waste the last years of Matt's prime". The Saints went through three straight 7-9 seasons while they worked through theirs. Now they aren't in cap heIl and are humming. Admittedly, Payton proved to be a better coach than DQ and coached the offense through it while Loomis fixed the cap and defense. DQ and TD haven't shown that ability unfortunately. 

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7 minutes ago, Ergo Proxy said:

This is what I expected our 2021 outlook to be and we don’t have many rookies coming due; Kazee? Takk option year?

Pretty much expected we would increase drastically in cap space for 2021.

Key has been getting around 2020. A good draft and cuts/restructures as highlighted will point the ship in the right direction.

Will coaches, GM, draft picks and any 1-2 year stop gap signings next offseason be enough for a quick turnaround?

Making most of 2020 won’t be necessarily at cost of 2021 and beyond. Only things we may have to do are restructure Matthews and Ryan to free up space for 2020 to be competitive.

The draft picks and coaching will go a long way.

Speaking of sacks and pressures. Crawford subtlety called out coverages being bad on radio with Duke & Bell just now. Why aren’t there sacks? QB hasn’t been dropping back and waiting to throw essentially what he said. Aka ; look at how bad our coverage is!

I’m looking at Tru, Oliver, LBs and even Takk or Vic being asked to cover.

Tru is as good as gone even without a trade by Tuesday’s deadline; unless a new GM sees purpose in keeping him on vs gaining $5M space for 2020.

Sheffield and Oliver are going to get a long, hard look. Miller may get some snaps. Cominsky has been earning snaps early in the games. I want to see Foye and Grace get on the field as Vondre will walk. Neal playing on his option is really about risk reward for 1 year. Need a backup plan there if you keep him and should identify upgrades for a playmaker at FS.

Let’s see progression out of young players on D and determine the real short-term needs for the few FA moves we make out of house. Keep Hooper for his prime.

Offense really is about Mack’s department timing, Lindstrom/McGary playing time this year if possible but Kaleb needed the most work as a rookie...and of course decision on RB future (Ito has been injury prone so far) so play Hill and QO.

WR just needs Ridley to keep progressing and Gage/Zaccheaus/Blake stepping up. Maybe Hardy is an inexpensive keep for one last year. Etc.

Pretty much. The back end of the defense has been absolutely atrocious. That includes Trufant. His $5MM savings in 2020 aren't what you should be looking at, it's the 2021/2022 hits. If you can trade him, that's the win you need to look for. It makes taking on that dead cap even more attractive. Conley just netted a third and Apple went for a fourth last year. If you can get that kind of return this offseason while moving Trufant, that's a big win. 

Like you said, they need to start playing the young guys now and start rebuilding this thing. 

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