This is a four-part series on the potential cut candidates that could be cap casualties and the free agents that could be signed this offseason to replace them. With new general manager Terry Fontenot’s pro personnel background, free agency could prove more fruitful than the draft. Part one was offensive cuts; part two was offensive free agents; part three will be defensive cuts; part four will be defensive free agents.
Now that Dean Pees has officially been named the defensive coordinator, we know what personnel his system demands. If you haven’t already read over my breakdown of Pees’ scheme, be sure to check it out because these cuts coincide with that article.
Using the tools provided by OverTheCap, the contracts of players cut will yield the team’s salary cap room.
Allen Bailey, DL
2021 cap hit: $6,125,000
Allen Bailey would save the Falcons about $4,500,000 if he were cut. He was unproductive overall and didn’t play more than half the team’s defensive snaps. You can’t justify paying someone that much money and use them that little. Bailey recorded just eight quarterback pressures all year. Let me name some others around the NFL that had eight total quarterback pressures; Budda Baker (a safety), Charles Harris (Falcons paid him less than $2,000,000 in 2020), and Alexander Johnson (middle linebacker). But it wasn’t just the poor play on the field; it was the poor effort too. Bailey has to go.
— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) October 25, 2019
2021 cap hit: $8,375,000
I will say this first; I think Ricardo had a bad year in 2020, but he would be great in Pees’ defense. He is intelligent and versatile enough to drop into deep coverage from within five yards of the line of scrimmage. I just can’t convince myself he’s worth his 2021 cap hit, especially when the Falcons can recoup more than $6,000,000 of his salary. Allen is a great leader with high character, so I don’t want to cut him. But Atlanta is too cap-strapped to afford him.
Tyeler Davison, DL
2021 cap hit: $4,663,333
If Tyeler Davison is designated a June 1st cut, the Falcons could save over $3,000,000 of his 2021 salary. Terry Fontenot was in New Orleans when they drafted Davison and when they let him walk in free agency. I expect Fontenot to know exactly what to do with the “run-stopper,” who might’ve been more productive rushing the passer last season. He totaled four total pressures all year, so he was clearly performing poorly.
Be sure to look out for part four, where we will do most of the work and present some free agents that could help the defense out!
Photo: David John Griffin/Icon SportsWire