Atlanta has two courses of action to attack free agency

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Following the cuts of Devonta Freeman, Desmond Trufant, and others, the Falcons cleared up around $12 million in cap space. The additions of Hayden Hurst and the extensions of Keith Smith and Tyeler Davison has eaten into that a bit, but Atlanta can still save some money by cutting Allen Bailey. That should leave them with about $13-$18 million, depending on how they utilize their Post-June 1st cuts. The Falcons could also save even more room if they re-work some of their biggest contracts on the books.

Take out around $7 million for your draft class, that leaves Atlanta with a theoretical $6-11 million to spend in free agency. My guess is that this figure will be $8 million, with the team opting to designate Desmond Trufant as a Post-June 1st cut to open up around $5.8 million more in cap space, using the savings to sign their draft class. Of course, the other $3 million or so would still be tied up until that point, June 2nd. This could be used as wiggle room to get through the season, as you always have to keep a bit available.

With only around $8 million to spend by my rough estimations, this leaves Atlanta in a predicament as to how to approach free agency. They will only be able to sign one, maybe two veterans that could help give the team a boost, and address the majority of the needs in the draft. This is obvious, but the Falcons do have some ways to be creative with how they approach their signings.

One course of action would be to try to sign a couple of veterans to one-year deals for around $4 million who were cut by their teams. This would not affect them receiving any sort of compensatory picks for the number of free agents they are set to lose this offseason, which gives them a brighter long-term outlook. This would also be a more patient approach, as they could see what sort of needs they can address in the NFL Draft, and try to fill in the gaps with training camp cuts as they see fit.

However, if they feel there is a player, maybe even two who they believe can change the entire trajectory of their 2020 season, they may try to take advantage of the cap spike that is supposed to come to fruition next season. Many expect the salary cap to increase by as much as an additional $40 million for 2021. If this is the case, Thomas Dimitroff and company could sign a player or two to heavily backloaded contracts at a lower cap hit for 2020. Considering his job may be on the line, I would think this is almost likely.

We have already seen some teams structure contracts for the expected cap spike. For instance, the Baltimore Ravens, who are also tight against the cap, signed impact free agent Michael Brockers to a three-year, $30 million deal. However, they structured it as follows:

A $5 million cap hit in the first season, with a backloaded last two seasons after the spike. If Thomas Dimitroff plays his cards right, he may be able to pull this off with a couple of impact free agents and give his team the best chance to win in 2020. It is a matter of how he plans to approach this predicament, but he does have options. The latter may be the best way for the Falcons to make their quadrennial push.

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