To demonstrate the state their salary cap is in, let’s look at the top five players on the Atlanta Falcons payroll:
Quarterback Matt Ryan
Season 3 salary: $31.46 million
The former MVP is on the downward slope of his career at the young age of 36. NFL players don’t typically play into their late 30’s unless they are one of the best at their position, which Ryan is not. If the Falcons want to bring in another quarterback, they will have to pay them upwards of $20 million, tying them over $50 million at the position. Yikes.
Season 3 salary: $19 million
Jarrett is a phenomenal young interior defensive lineman, but is any defensive tackle worth nearly $20 million? At 28, he will be getting worse sooner than he gets better, following a season in which he only posted 21 tackles. The top two players in terms of contracts tie up about $50 million. Two players. Yikes.
Season 3 salary: $17.60 million
Julio Jones is one of the most prolific receivers the league has ever seen. As a player, he is well worth the money. He has been remarkably consistent in PML and nobody can fault Atlanta for paying him.
Season 3 salary: $12.63 million
Deion Jones is an absolute freak at the mike linebacker spot. He can track down any player on the field, and is well worth his deal, albeit expensive.
Season 3 salary: $11.66 million
Sure, Campbell is a solid player. But he isn’t on the same level as Deion Jones, yet his contract is. This is one of those contract numbers that makes you wince when you see it. The linebacker’s deal is one that surely hurts the Falcons in every move they make, as they have less than $2 million in cap space.
In addition to large contracts already in place, they have 3 star players awaiting a new deal as they enter the final season of their contracts:
HB Ito Smith
FS Ricardo Allen
CB Chris Harris Jr.
The Falcons have submitted a trade to get rid of Allen, which should help their cap moving forward, but many questions still remain.