It was announced today that the 2021 NFL salary cap will be set a bit higher than expected. Estimates were sitting around $175 million, but that number is believed to have ballooned to around $180 million — roughly $18 million lower than 2020 — according to Adam Schefter.
Though the NFL’s salary cap is not expected to be officially set until next month, league sources believe it will be roughly $180-$181 million. Throughout the past season, many expected it to be around $175 million, but it now is projected to come in slightly higher, per sources.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 7, 2021
While this stings, especially with the Falcons in a tight spot, there’s still plenty that Atlanta can do.
The key is (and always will be) restructuring. Just by restructuring Atlanta’s top six contracts, the Falcons have $19.9 million to play with before cuts. By cutting or trading Ricardo Allen, cutting Allen Bailey and Tyeler Davison — that number balloons to well over $30 million. The last move I see happening, releasing James Carpenter with a Post-June 1st designation gives Atlanta a final number of $38.1 million (projected) to spend in free agency. Personally, I’d rather not restructure Dante Fowler Jr, because if he flops again, his cut becomes more costly next offseason.
These restructure numbers aren’t perfect, and roster bonus numbers can vary, but there should be plenty of breathing room for the Falcons in the 2021 offseason to add a guy like Corey Linsley, Desmond King, or John Johnson III in free agency. With Foyesade Oluokun, Calvin Ridley, and possibly Hayden Hurst needing extensions soon — the Falcons should still have plenty of room in 2022 with (hopefully) full stands.