According to ESPN’s Dan Graziano, the NFL and NFLPA have agreed on the 2022 salary-cap ceiling:
Per source, the NFL and the NFLPA have agreed to a salary cap ceiling of $208.2 million for the 2022 season. If it gets there, that would be a 14 percent increase over the 2021 cap of $182.5 million. (more)
— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) May 26, 2021
As expected, there was a pretty healthy increase for the 2022 season, particularly due to a 2021 season with full stands. There will be a massive increase going into 2023 when the NFL’s new television deal with Amazon takes effect. However, what does this spike in salary cap space mean for the Falcons going into the next offseason?
Trading Julio Jones may be much more palatable
Unfortunately, one of the greatest players in franchise history may be in another uniform when 2021 begins. However, the Falcons will still be feeling some of the effects of his dead cap hit in the 2022 offseason. With the Falcons needing to fill out a roster full of one-year contracts, the extra space may alleviate some of the pressure of a Jones trade and allow the Falcons to get a better return in a trade.
Plenty of money for extensions?
Besides guys like Younghoe Koo and any other players on one-year contracts who may make a big impact in 2021, two big names will need new contracts to avoid hitting free agency in 2022 or 2023. I think Foyesade Oluokun will play at a level that warrants him getting a new deal — a very underrated piece of this Falcons defense. Russell Gage will be an impending free agent as well, along with Isaiah Oliver, who is facing a make-or-break season. Calvin Ridley will be playing on the fifth-year option for 2022, but if he plays as he did last season in 2021, it may be better to get an extension done sooner rather than later. With Julio Jones’ future uncertain in Atlanta, Ridley has tons of leverage in negotiations with the Falcons.
A little more breathing room in free agency?
We saw the Falcons ink a couple of one-year plugs to fill the holes on this roster, but some might play themselves into a second contract in Atlanta. Personally, I thought the Duron Harmon, Fabian Moreau, and Cordarrelle Patterson signings were all high-upside pickups. Some guys may break out and surprise the fanbase, but I could see the Falcons taking the same approach in 2022 free agency. However, with some extra space to operate, perhaps Atlanta does something they didn’t do in 2021 — take a swing at a big-time free agent.