Falcons: Dante Fowler reportedly taking pay cut

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According to Jeff Schultz of The Athletic, the Falcons and Dante Fowler have agreed upon a reduced salary in 2021.

Fowler signed a three-year, $48 million deal with the Falcons last spring, but he won’t be playing in Atlanta this year at his current cap hit of $18,541,666. A year after registering 11.5 sacks and 16 tackles for loss with the Rams, the former Florida Gator had career lows in every major statistical category for pass rushers — one forced fumble, three sacks, and four tackles for loss. Quarterback pressures are the most indicative statistic that a pass-rusher is consistently affecting a game; sacks can sometimes be inflated, and Fowler struggled in that area as well.

With Fowler’s trade value lower than ever, finding a partner would probably require giving up draft picks. There were three strategies — pay cut, restructure or release — that Terry Fontenot could have used to reduce Fowler’s cap hit.

Cutting him with a post-June 1st designation would have saved Atlanta $8 million, but with more dead cap than savings; Fontenot wasn’t going to go that route. Restructuring Fowler’s contract didn’t make sense either, as teams don’t usually restructure players coming off of a career-worst year. That leaves Fowler taking a pay cut, which we see to be a reality.

Fowler was never going to play this year for over $18 million in 2021, and I long guessed Fontenot wouldn’t even have to convince him to take a pay cut because he was going to be released if not. Fowler’s agent probably informed his client that he wouldn’t be able to get that amount of money in free agency even after a pay cut, which led to this decision.

The details of Fowler’s new contract have not been released yet. This article will be updated when they become available. 

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