Falcons veteran among NFL.com’s potential cap casualties of free agency

NFL: SEP 17 Packers at Falcons

The Falcons new regime is currently assessing their own roster.

Raheem Morris and his coaching staff along with Terry Fontenot and his front office are discussing what type of players they want for their offensive and defensive systems, making way for cap casualties.

There are several obvious candidates to be cut this offseason. Taylor Heinicke is one of the best backup quarterbacks in the league, and there’s value in that. However, with Desmond Ridder under contract at a much lower figure, Heinicke is suddenly expendable and will save the Falcons $7 million against the cap.

A couple of more names are Mike Hughes and Lorenzo Carter. The cornerback and edge positions are roster needs and you don’t want to make them an even bigger need by parting ways with quality depth pieces, but the Falcons have to upgrade, rather than just bolster those units with half measures.

The only other obvious potential cut candidate that will save the Falcons consistent cap space is veteran Jonnu Smith, who made NFL.com’s list of players in the NFC who could become cap casualties.

We have yet to see where former Rams coaches Raheem Morris and Zac Robinson will take Atlanta’s offense, but here’s a hint: The Falcons ran two-tight end sets a league-high 61 percent of the time last year, while the Rams did so a league-low five percent of the time. Translation? They’ll likely not need a TE2 with a $9 million cap hit and will cut Smith for $6.5M in savings quicker than you can say “Kyle Pitts.”

This is dead on. If Zac Robinson runs a similar style of offense that Sean McVay runs in Los Angeles, the Falcons will all of a sudden need more receivers than tight ends due to the amount of 11 personnel the Rams run. Cutting Smith, Heinicke, Carter, and Hughes will create around $20 million in cap space the Falcons can spend on a potential quarterback like Kirk Cousins, a star pass rusher like Danielle Hunter or a contract extension for A.J. Terrell.

Photographer: Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire

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