Could Casey Hayward be cap casualty for the Falcons this offseason?

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The Falcons’ 2023 salary cap has been set, and the team sits with just north of $56 million in space. However, that figure could easily rise by $12 million if the team parts ways with Marcus Mariota. The veteran quarterback seemingly stepped away from the organization after learning of his demotion; later, it would be confirmed that it was his choice, and the phantom injury had nothing to do with the decision to start Desmond Ridder.

With a cap hit of $14.5 million in 2023, that’s a pricy backup quarterback in this league. And what made Mariota so valuable was his maturity and leadership in mentoring Desmond Ridder, but he left the rookie high and dry. All signs point to the two sides divorcing. But he’s not the only potential cap casualty; Casey Hayward‘s future could be in jeopardy.

There are a few reasons for the Falcons to move on from the veteran cornerback. With Dean Pees retiring, Atlanta hired Ryan Nielsen to take over the defense, and with a new coordinator comes a new scheme, which means Casey Hayward might not be in the plans.

Moreover, despite being a solid starter, he wound up missing 11 games after an injury in Week 11; he’ll be 34 years old in 2023 and makes a ton of sense as an area that can be upgraded. Finally, the financials make sense. Atlanta can realize $5 million in cap savings alongside just $2 million in dead money, per OverTheCap.┬áIf the Falcons part ways with both players, the team’s cap space could jump all the up to $73.5 million.

There are plenty of areas the team needs to upgrade, and even without parting ways with Casey Hayward, it’s a position group that needs addressing. If Atlanta cuts the former All-Pro, the cornerback room will require significant investment this offseason.

Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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