Falcons owner Arthur Blank talked about his belief in the importance of continuity for successful NFL franchises when discussing his decision to retain head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff. But continuity is a difficult concept to apply towards roster building, and the Falcons will face some important decisions in that regard over the coming months.
Atlanta has made it a priority to invest in its homegrown players during recent offseasons, but those contracts have left them in a tight spot with the salary cap. Two of the primary salary cap calculators available to the public, Spotrac and Over The Cap, highlight the situation the Falcons are currently in.
According to Spotrac, the Falcons are currently estimated to be $2,660,703 above the salary cap for next season. Over The Cap estimates the Falcons to be $1,691,802 over the salary cap for 2020. As evidenced by the incongruous numbers above, predicting the salary cap and where a team falls in relation to it can be an inexact science for those outside of NFL front offices. Nevertheless, both of those numbers indicate that the Falcons would have to free up money just to fall below the salary cap.
ESPN's Field Yates recently reported that the Falcons have created over $12 million in cap space by restructuring the contracts of Matt Ryan and Grady Jarrett, and it's unclear whether those restructurings are reflected in the cap projections by Spotrac and Over The Cap. If those sites have not yet taken into account those restructured deals, Atlanta will have a bit more breathing room to start with.
Nevertheless, Dimitroff believes he will still be able to address the Falcons' needs despite what the team's current cap situation may be. Teams are often able to manipulate the short-term salary cap with a little bit of creativity, and it appears the Falcons plan on finding ways to create extra cap space.
"We have to look at where we are with the salary cap, and we have to make some difficult decisions," Dimitroff said. "In my mind, when we do decide on the decisions we're going to make, I don't think it's going to leave our organization in a spot where we are devoid of talent.
"I feel like we have a really good setup and situation on how we put it all together, and Dan [Quinn] and I communicate very, very closely on how we want our team come together and the money that we're going to put into the team. I think on the other side of this you'll realize what I'm talking about."
Before making decisions on which free agents to add to their roster, the Falcons must decide with players to keep on it. Tight end Austin Hooper, linebacker De'Vondre Campbell and defensive end Vic Beasley are three prominent free agents who will be part of the team's discussions this offseason.
No offer has yet been made, however, and the Falcons continue to look at all aspects of the roster with the offseason now starting.
"We're in the process of doing that right now, talking about it, how we put things together," Dimitroff said. "… They factor into what we're doing with the roster, no question about it. We have not extended anything at this point."
Head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff spoke to the media one more time following the final game of the 2019 season.