There’s no telling what a new regime will do with this roster, but significant changes generally occur following a complete overhaul of the front office and coaching staff. I already profiled some cut candidates, but I think these guys could actually bring something back in return. While I may not agree with trading a player — if there’s a possibility, I’ll include it. I’ll be omitting Matt Ryan; his contract renders the scenario unlikely.
S Ricardo Allen
Dead Money: $2.125 million
Cap Savings: $6.25 million
Ricardo Allen may just get cut if a trade can’t be worked out, but I could see him having some takers. He’s undoubtedly valuable — a smart veteran safety that’s played pretty well at times. With Keanu Neal and Damontae Kazee scheduled to become free agents, safety will be a need in the draft regardless. This is a pretty deep class, so I’m not too concerned. If you can attach Rico to a pick and move up or trade him for a late-round selection, I’m all for it.
WR Russell Gage
Dead Money: $39k
Cap Savings: $920k
I am in no way in favor of trading Gage. While drops gave him trouble, he is so cheap, and moving him just creates another hole. However, I wouldn’t be shocked if teams were calling Atlanta trying to take him off of their hands. Unless someone is offering something like a second round pick (which they won’t), I would not move him. Maybe down the road when Gage is due for a contract extension, but not this offseason.
LT Jake Matthews
Dead Money: $18.85 million
Cap Savings: $1.36 million
I’m not in favor of moving Matthews either, even if Atlanta decides to draft Penei Sewell. Just as a note, while his Pre-June 1st trade only saves ~$1 million, savings go to $13 million after June 1st… and after the draft. There’s no doubt that offensive line will be a need in the draft again, but Matthews could potentially slide around. He wasn’t even as bad as many thought in 2020, and he’s still a reliable left tackle. A team would have to overpay with loads of draft picks, and while the salary relief would be nice, I don’t support addition by subtraction on an offensive that already needs help.
WR Julio Jones
Dead Money: $23.25 million
Cap Savings: -$200,000
You knew it was coming. I don’t want to trade Julio for a mile-long list of reasons. Mostly, he’s my favorite player. An actual logical reason is that his value has literally never been lower. Another logical reason is you would lose money if you traded him before this draft. After June 1st, the savings jump to $15.3 million. I think Julio should be a career Falcon, and it would take a king’s ransom to win my support over in a trade. When he’s healthy (which outside of the end of 2020, he has been), he’s still one of the elite game changers in the NFL. Replacing his production would be impossible, no matter how good Calvin Ridley has been.
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