By cutting Devonta Freeman, Ty Sambrailo, Luke Stocker, and Desmond Trufant, the Falcons cleared up roughly $12 million in cap space. Of course, the addition of Hayden Hurst, as well as deals handed out to Keith Smith and Tyeler Davison have cut into this figure. The cap space could become more substantial if the team designates Freeman and/or Trufant as post-June 1st cuts to sign their draft class, but as of now, there is no proof that is the case.
The team can also save an additional $4.5 million by cutting Allen Bailey, but they will likely wait to do that until they need the space. They also can restructure some contracts to open up even more room.
As things stand, the Falcons will have enough salary cap room to sign their rookie class, and perhaps a veteran or two who can help the team. It is still unclear just how much space will be available, but it should be between $13-18 million after a Bailey cut, depending on how they designate Trufant’s release. With so many impact players on their way out of Atlanta, they should likely bring in players who were cut by other teams so they can bring in some compensatory picks next season. Our Jake Gordon has done a great job already looking at a handful of these candidates, such as Nickell Robey-Coleman, Devon Kennard, and Leonard Floyd. Let’s take a look at some other remaining players who fit this bill, and the price point for Atlanta in this year’s free agency period.
By cutting Desmond Trufant, the Falcons now have one of the thinnest and least experienced cornerback groups in the NFL. That is not terrific news with Drew Brees re-upping with New Orleans, and Tom Brady joining Tampa. Given the Falcons’ current cap space situation, their best course of action will be to draft a corner high, but even that may not be enough. They need a quality veteran at a reasonable cost, and Brandon Carr could be that guy. Baltimore is expected to decline their team option on Carr, but not due to performance. He has never been an All-Pro or anything along those lines, but he has always been a starter-level quality contributor in this league. In fact, since he was drafted in 2008, Carr has started every game of his career and has never missed a contest, an impressive streak of 192 consecutive starts. That sort of reliability is so valuable in the NFL, and he should be a guy who won’t demand big free-agent dollars.
The Falcons will most definitely be drafting a pass rusher high in this year’s NFL Draft to pair with Takk McKinley, but they’ll need more than that. They should look to bring in a veteran for the rotation at a reasonable cost. One player that fits that description is Cameron Wake. Yes, he is 38-years old. No, he is not what he once was. However, the five-time Pro Bowler is a lock to notch at least five sacks if he can stay on the field. If he settles for a few million on a one-year deal, he could provide a veteran presence at the most expensive position in free agency outside of quarterback.
It seems like De’Vondre Campbell would love to return to Atlanta, but he is likely going to be too expensive to be retained. The Falcons can bring in a similar player at a fraction of the cost in Nigel Bradham. The outside linebacker was cut by the Eagles, as the team looks to go younger and save some cap. With that being said, he should have a couple of quality years ahead of him and could offer them a veteran stopgap in the short-term. A two-year deal that is easy to get out of after the first year would be perfect.