As it stands, the Falcons roster is in respectable shape but still needs additional pieces to vault into the playoffs next season. Atlanta can create significant cap room if the higher-valued contracts are restructured, and there is no reason to believe the players would be unwilling to restructure their current deals.
Matt Ryan, Jake Matthews, and Allen Bailey restructured their contracts ahead of the 2020 season. Ricardo Allen and Grady Jarrett also did the same, all in hopes of extending Julio Jones. Now, those same players must restructure their contracts again.
Without cutting anyone, if the Falcons restructured their top six contracts for the 2021 season, Terry Fontenot would have around $15,000,000 under a $175,000,000 league salary cap — which the NFL and NFLPA agreed to as a salary cap floor. But as Jake eluded to, the cap will be closer to $180,000,000, which would give the Falcons $20,000,000 to spend this offseason if every cent possible is restructured. According to Overthecap, restructuring Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Jake Matthews, Grady Jarrett, Dante Fowler, and Deion Jones would create $20,000,000 in cap space. This is where the unselfishness comes into play.
Not even a full 24-hours after winning the Super Bowl, Bucanneer players were already reaching out to unselfishly create more cap space by restructuring.
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) February 8, 2021
This is the type of unselfishness the Falcons will need if they want to compete immediately. The aforementioned top-six contracts on the books must be addressed, and it will be up to Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith to convince these individuals to restructure.
Of course, playing with someone like Tom Brady will motivate players to take a pay cut. It happened the entire time in New England, and now it is taking shape in Tampa Bay. Nobody is lining up to play with Matt Ryan, especially if they have to take a pay cut to do so. The Falcons must convince the currently rostered players to restructure then develop a culture in which players will take pay cuts to come and play in Atlanta.