The Falcons have not wasted much time this offseason, diving right into cuts not even a week after Super Bowl Sunday. We learned on Tuesday that Robert Alford was released, and two more veterans followed him on Wednesday, Matt Bryant and Brooks Reed. Between the three, Atlanta has already saved over $15 million in 2019 cap space and they don’t appear to be anywhere near finished.
Here is a list of Falcons who may be up next on the chopping block:
DE Vic Beasley (2019 cap hit: $12.81 million)
OT Ryan Schraeder (2019 cap hit: $7.75 million)
Mohammed Sanu (2019 cap hit: $7.4 million)
OG Brandon Fusco (2019 cap hit: $4.85 million)
P Matt Bosher (2019 cap hit $2.5 million)
Out of all those players, only Sanu would be surprising if cut. But after seeing the Falcons part ways with Matt Bryant, anything and everything is on the table this offseason.
Per the Athletic’s Jason Butt (subscription required), the cuts of Alford and Bryant opened up the Falcons 2019 cap space to $36.5 million. Add in the release of Brooks Reed, which saves the Falcons $4.5 million next season, should put Atlanta around $40 million in cap space. And as you can see, there are still plenty of ways that number can get a lot higher. Just by cutting Vic Beasley, the Falcons would be looking at over $50 million to spend this offseason.
That may or may not happen, but one thing is for sure, Thomas Dimitroff’s ‘cautious’ approach that he spoke about regarding free agency was nothing more than coach speak. Specifically, he said, “We will be very manageable and mindful about how we will be approaching free agency. We will not be throwing out money for the sake of it.”
While the Falcons won’t be ‘throwing money out for the sake of it,’ they will be significant players in the free agent market from the very beginning. Their number one priority continues to be Grady Jarrett, who will likely eat up close to $20 million in cap space if the Falcons can reach an agreement with him. They also want to restructure Julio Jones’s contract, making him once again one of the highest paid wide receivers in the league.
But after that, expect Atlanta to be looking to upgrade both their offensive and defensive lines. Brooks Reed’s release leaves the Falcons with only two defensive ends on their depth chart (Takkarist McKinley, Vic Beasley), and Beasley could be on his way out of town as well. This free agent class could not be better for edge rushers, so look for Atlanta to pick up at least one if not two players who can get after the passer in free agency alone.
It’s simple really: The Falcons do not make tough cuts like Bryant to save a measly $3 million if they do not have a plan on how they are going to spend it. In the coming days, expect more releases, some that may even be shocking, but also understand that all that extra money is going to be used to help find weapons on defense and some extra beef to protect Matt Ryan. This should be one of the more tantalizing free agency periods in recent memory for Falcons fans.