UPDATE: PFT and DOL now each have the Falcons with less than $5.8 million in cap. Gragh.
After a couple of weeks of furious negotiation in an effort to put out the fires that teams like the Steelers and Raiders created by being millions of dollars over the cap, the NFL has arrived at a final cap number for next year.
At first glance, that's not much of an increase over the $120.375 million the league had lined up in 2011, and it's really not. What isn't reflected here is that teams can roll unused 2011 cap space into 2012, and can "borrow" up to $1.5 million from the 2013 cap for this year. Teams in dire need of space or chasing a big-name free agent can thus free up a couple million more for the pursuit.
Whether the Falcons will take that opportunity is anyone's guess. Assuming they work out a deal with Brent Grimes with a 2012 cap hit of less than $10 million, the Falcons should have upwards of $10 million to work with in free agency. I say upwards because no one has presented me with a end-all, be-all accurate cap number at this point, but the team is freeing up salary for a run at someone, so they've got to have a decent amount left. I've seen the space calculated at anywhere between $6 and $19 million, and the true number likely lies in the middle.
Still, this is good news and gives the team just a little bit more flexibility in managing the cap this year. What are your thoughts?