Examining the Falcons top 10 salary cap hits in 2021


Barring any out-of-left-field trades, the Falcons roster is essentially set, so let’s examine the Falcons’ ten highest cap hits in 2021.

10. A.J. Terrell

Cap Hit: $3,251,306

The Falcons first-round pick a year ago signed a 4 year, $14,305,748 contract with Atlanta, including a $7,964,180 signing bonus, $14,305,748 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $3,576,437. In 2021, Terrell will earn a base salary of $1,260,261, while carrying a cap hit of $3,251,306 and a dead cap value of $11,704,703. Since Terrell was a first-round pick, his contract will have a fifth-year option in 2024.

9. Matt Gono

Cap Hit: $3,384,000

Gono was a restricted free agent — a player with three accrued seasons and an expired contract — this offseason but signed a second-round tender set to pay him $3,384,000 this year. Most recently, though, Gono suffered an injury that could potentially keep him out for the entire season. Thankfully, there is optimism that he’ll be available¬†at some point in 2021.

8. Calvin Ridley

Cap Hit: $3,468,410

Ridley being paid this little is criminal, but I’m not complaining because he’ll get his eventually. Fontenot already exercised his fifth-year option, affecting the 2022 salary cap, with a cap hit of $11,116,000. I assume Ridley will sign an extension sometime before the start of next season after the team traded Julio Jones, especially after his exceptional 2020 season that resulted in All-Pro honors.

7. Chris Lindstrom

Cap Hit: $4,011,479

Lindstrom will likely be one of the first few contract extensions the new regime hands out, given how important he will be to Arthur Smith’s offense. The Falcons will have the opportunity to exercise his fifth-year option next offseason, which could be considered a guarantee. Lindstrom will be a focal point of this team going forward under Smith and Fontenot.

6. Kyle Pitts

Cap Hit: $5,983,726 (Projected)

Obviously, this isn’t an actual cap hit, but it’s the best we have. Pitts will be one of the highest-paid tight ends in the league regardless of his 2021 cap hit.

5. Deion Jones

Cap Hit: $8,630,000

Debo signed a 4 year, $57,000,000 contract with the Falcons a few offseasons ago, including a $11,000,000 signing bonus, $34,000,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $14,250,000. In 2021, Jones will earn a base salary of $4,200,000 and a roster bonus of $480,000, while carrying a cap hit of $8,630,000 and a dead cap value of $20,050,000.

4. Dante Fowler Jr.

Cap Hit: $10,666,666

Two offseasons ago, Thomas Dimitroff gave the organization a parting gift in the form of a three-year, $45,000,000 contract with $22,000,000 in guaranteed money to Fowler. Fontenot negotiated a reduced salary for Fowler this year while voiding the final year of his deal next year, which was reworked to save $7,000,000. However, the 2022 void year will make him a free agent an offseason earlier, leaving a $4,660,000 dead cap charge.

3. Jake Matthews

Cap Hit: $12,264,200

Matthews’ contract was max restructured this offseason, saving the team $8,600,000 against this year’s cap. He’ll be 32-years-old when his contract expires in 2024. Matthews is an important piece to this team, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he received a two-year extension following this season if health permits it.

2. Grady Jarrett

Cap Hit: $20,833,000

Jarrett’s contract was always expected to be restructured this offseason, but the Julio Jones trade negated that move. If Fontenot wanted to restructure Jarrett’s contract, a max restructure would save the Falcons $6,255,000 against this year’s cap. His cap hit raises a few million next year, but I would expect the new regime to offer an extension before Jarrett hits free agency.

1. Matt Ryan

Cap Hit: $26,912,500

Everyone knows who was going to be first on this list; Ryan signed a 5 year, $150,000,000 contract a few years ago and has seemingly restructured it every year since. Set to hit free agency in 2024, Falcons fans can expect Ryan to stick around for the entirety of his contract, given the financial ramifications of trading or cutting the veteran quarterback.


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