Goober Pyle Posted December 30, 2019 Share Posted December 30, 2019 https://theathletic.com/1498199/2019/12/30/thomas-dimitroff-isnt-worried-about-salary-cap-as-difficult-decisions-loom-for-falcons-roster/ The Falcons front office maintains it’s not worried about the 2020 salary cap. The belief at team headquarters is that the Falcons will continue to be — in their words — “creative” in efforts to create some salary-cap space to sign some quality free agents. But obviously, each free-agent acquisition in 2019 came on a budget. The Falcons were in no position to sign a high-profile name on either side of the ball. As it stands, it seems unlikely that the Falcons will be able to make the kind of big splash in free agency that this fan base would love to see. The final 2020 salary-cap figure for each team hasn’t been revealed yet, although it’s estimated to be between $196.8 million and $201.2 million. This season operated at a cap figure of $188.2 million. Still, the 2020 season figures to be tight. An ESPN report during the weekend stated the Falcons adjusted Matt Ryan and Grady Jarrett’s 2020 salaries and previously scheduled bonuses into bonuses prorated during the duration of their deals. This move freed up $12 million. Before the moves, Over The Cap projected the Falcons to be $6.9 million above the salary cap, which means they would now only be $5.1 million below it with the Ryan and Jarrett adjustments. “I am not concerned about it being a situation where we are going to be in what has been perceived out there as ‘cap ****,’” general manager Thomas Dimitroff said Friday. “It’s not the case at all. We will accomplish what we need to accomplish to continue to be able to bring the right players in here to be a contender. That’s my feeling about it.” Dimitroff was then asked for specifics Monday as to why Atlanta isn’t in “cap ****” for the 2020 season. “Any time you’re looking to be creative, you have to look at where we are with the salary cap, and you have to make some difficult decisions,” Dimitroff said. “In my mind, when we do decide on the decisions we’re going to make, I don’t think it’s going to leave our organization in a spot where we are devoid of talent. I feel like we have a really good setup in how we will put it all together. Dan (Quinn) and I communicate very closely on how we want our team to come together and the money we’re going to put into the team. I think on the other side of this you’ll realize what I’m talking about.” The “difficult decisions” Dimitroff is referring to are the need to release players under contract who have been key contributors for the franchise in recent seasons. With the team up against the cap, the Falcons may be forced to move on from upcoming free agents Austin Hooper and De’Vondre Campbell. After a season that saw him catch 75 passes for 787 yards and six touchdowns — all career bests — Hooper should be in line for a sizable payday if he hits the open market. It wouldn’t be out of the question to see Hooper net a contract worth more than $10 million in average annual value. “It’s a business. I obviously would like to be here, I’m open to coming back here,” Hooper said. “But I don’t know — I haven’t received an offer yet. If I do, I’d like to be here. At the same time, it’s a business. I’ll let my representation and the Falcons handle that.” Dimitroff, however, didn’t rule out the option of placing the franchise tag on Hooper to keep him from leaving the team. While the 2020 franchise tag numbers haven’t been revealed, the figure for tight ends in 2019 was $10.387 million. Hooper remains a priority this offseason for the Falcons, who hope to keep him in the fold. “We’re in the process of doing that right now, talking about it and how we put things together,” Dimitroff said. “We haven’t made any solid decisions at this point. I’d also mentioned he was our focus in the offseason. The way the season goes, but not only the season from a record standpoint but how our players play, that’s a big part of putting it all together. Once we get to the other side of this week, we’ll continue to look at this and make some good decisions.” Campbell, who led the Falcons for the second consecutive season with 129 tackles, said it has been quiet on the contract front. Campbell would prefer to return to Atlanta if given the choice. “They gave me an opportunity that 31 other teams didn’t,” Campbell said. “It would be special to come back. But I understand the way this business works.” Dimitroff was also asked about where Campbell and Vic Beasley, an upcoming free agent who just played out his fifth-year option, are in the early 2020 roster construction process. “They factor into the consideration of what we’re doing to the roster, no question about it,” Dimitroff said. “We have not extended anything at this point.” Then there are the cap casualties — which also fall into the aforementioned “difficult decisions” category — the Falcons must contemplate. The easiest savings would come from releasing Alex Mack, which would save $8 million. But are the Falcons prepared to let go of one of the NFL’s best centers without a definite replacement? Probably not. If Atlanta felt like it had to do something with Mack’s contract, it would be better served in restructuring his 2020 salary and even adding a year to his contract to bring next season’s number down. There are a number of candidates whose release could bring the cap number down: Keanu Neal, which would save $6.466 million Desmond Trufant, which would save $4.95 million Allen Bailey, which would save $4.5 million Ty Sambrailo, which would save $3.75 million Devonta Freeman, which would save $3.5 million Ricardo Allen, which would save $3.125 million Luke Stocker, which would save $2.6 million Matt Schaub, which would save $2 million Takk McKinley, which would save $1.2 million Of this group, there are a number of players who don’t make much sense to release. Neal is too valuable to Quinn’s defense when healthy. Due to Bailey’s ability to defend the run, letting him loose would be a risk. Allen is one of the most influential voices in the locker room. While Schaub will be 39 next year, he proved he can step up when needed against the Seattle Seahawks. Trufant, who had one of his best seasons individually before it was cut short due to injury, is proof you can never have too many cornerbacks on an NFL roster. But Kendall Sheffield’s emergence and Isaiah Oliver’s second-half improvement could give the Falcons a reason to at least ponder parting ways with Trufant for financial reasons. Freeman will also be one to monitor this offseason. Quinn was asked specifically about Freeman’s future with the team during a Monday news conference, and he declined to elaborate. Quinn’s reasoning was that it’s too early in the offseason to talk about any player’s future with the team. Freeman, who signed a five-year, $41.25 million contract in 2017, appeared cognizant of the possibility he could wind up a cap casualty. Earlier in the day, Freeman was asked if he knew where his standing with the team was heading into the offseason. “I’m here,” he said. “Hey, I know I can play football real well, and I’ll continue to work hard and find ways to get better. Whatever happens, happens. I’ll just control what I can control.” Ergo Proxy, Rings, falconsrus and 3 others 6 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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