Arthur Smith on the Falcons freeing up salary cap space

NFL: AUG 05 Atlanta Falcons Training Camp

The Falcons made an unexpected move on Wednesday afternoon by restructuring Jake Matthews’ contract, which created more than $7 million in salary cap space.

Fans took to social media to speculate, firing off potential scenarios. Most flocked to the club’s biggest weaknesses, to this point being the offensive line, quarterback, and pass rush, particularly on the edge.

A quarterback was always a long shot. Desmond Ridder has been given the keys to the Falcons offense and will likely have a longer leash than even fans realize. Moreover, there’s arguably not a signal caller available that is better than Ridder.

Fans who suggested La’el Collins piqued my interest. The former Bengals tackle just passed a physical and is available to sign, but there’s no way Atlanta would bring him in for anything more than depth purposes.

Though he’s struggled in pass sets thus far, Kaleb McGary just signed a new deal and isn’t being replaced this early into the season. Jake Matthews’ run blocking has regressed, but he’s the stalwart of the unit. The interior offensive line is also solidified. The simple fact is the Falcons just need that group to play better, which they’ve shown an ability to do last year.

The pass rush was another intriguing idea. Carlos Dunlap is a veteran who could give the Falcons some juice off the edge, but many fans’ minds immediately went to Danielle Hunter. The Vikings’ premier pass rusher is a pipe dream. Minnesota, though on the cusp of a total rebuild, isn’t going to trade their star pass rusher after just three games.

As I stated when the news broke, I wouldn’t get your hopes up. More than likely, the move was going to result in some sort of acquisition to bolster the linebacker room with the injury to Troy Andersen.

Well, Arthur Smith gave a response to that restructure of Matthews’ contract.

“There are all kinds of accounting tricks. There are reasons that you do it. Sometimes they mean things, sometimes they don’t. Just being safe.”

As always, Atlanta’s head coach tells part of the story. This could mean something is coming down the pike, but I think it just means the Falcons want to be in a position to pull the trigger if something comes across their desks that makes the team better.

Photographer: Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire

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