According to Ian Rapoport, the league has informed teams that the salary cap has been set at $182.5 million for the 2021 season.
Teams are now being informed: The cap is $182.5M.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 10, 2021
Last summer, the NFL negotiated rule changes amid the COVID-19 pandemic; one important condition involved the salary cap for future years. The NFLPA and the league agreed they would eat much of the reduction in 2020 revenues in 2021. At the time of the agreement, the two sides settled on a compromise that the cap would not drop below $175 million, with any additional reductions accounted for in 2022 and beyond. Now, we know the exact figure.
This is roughly $16 million lower than the $198.2 million cap from 2020. Expect more frugality than usual, but kicking the can down the road via restructures will become a league-wide trend. I have continued to say how this year will see a seismic shift in talent across the league because of the revenue loss. Teams will be unable to afford pricey veteran contracts, forcing many more cuts.
Terry Fontenot has already begun trimming the fat off the roster. He cut Ricardo Allen and Allen Bailey, which saved the Falcons $10.65 million — $6.25 from Allen and $4.5 million from Bailey. James Carpenter was released yesterday as well. There’s no indication if there is a post-June 1st designation, but by cutting Carpenter before June 1st, the Falcons take on $2.4 million of dead money and save a little over $4 million. If there is a post-June 1st designation, Atlanta would only incur a $1.2 million dead cap hit and save $5.2 million.
Today, the Falcons are only about $16.5 million over the cap with those recent transactions. But, many people forget about the $1.8 million carried over from 2020, which drops Atlanta to around $14.7 million over the cap. Falcons fans can expect more releases and a few restructures to break in the coming week. Dante Fowler and Tyeler Davison are — in my eyes — possible cut candidates. If both were released, the Falcons would save around $10 million against the cap. After that, restructuring the remaining top-five contracts — Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Jake Matthews, Grady Jarrett, and Deion Jones — could save the organization around $40 million more. So, don’t let anyone tell you the Falcons lack the money to sign free agents.
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