The Falcons are currently $7.3 million over the $208 million 2022 NFL salary cap, according to Over the Cap. With many spots to fill on the depth chart, Atlanta’s front office will undoubtedly be busy creating cap space. Whether that comes in the form of restructures, extensions, or cuts, Terry Fontenot has to do something.
The most significant roadblock is Matt Ryan‘s contract. His $48.6 million cap hit will actually be the largest for any player in NFL history if his contract remains untouched.
Falcons QB Matt Ryan is currently scheduled to have a cap hit of $48,662,500 in 2022.
That would be the largest cap hit for any player in NFL history.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) February 24, 2022
Yates’ tweet may mislead some fans to believe the actual contract is the most lucrative in league history, which it is not. Ryan’s actual salary is just $16.25 million, with a $7.5 million roster bonus due in March, which is just $23.75 million. The rest is all prorated bonus money from restructuring Ryan’s contract year after year. So, the nearly $50 million cap hit is a bit deceiving.
However, I don’t expect the Falcons to leave Ryan’s contract untouched. There will have to be a move made, whether that is an extension or restructure. That news should be coming soon too. Talkin’ Birdy’s Matt Karoly believes this action could come during the week of March 7th.
On second thought, this update might not actually affect the timing of the #Falcons salary cap news drop since NFL free agency opens on Wednesday, March 16th. I’d expect the Ryan restructure/extension news to come the week of March 7th. 🔜
— Matt Karoly (@mattkaroly) February 24, 2022
The Falcons need cap space to make any notable move, and Ryan’s contract will create the most money. However, there are other options — Grady Jarrett, Calvin Ridley, and Deion Jones are all candidates to have their contracts come off the books via trade. Regardless of how Fontenot plans to create cap space, it is inevitable.