Atlanta Falcons 2013 Potential Cap Casualties: Stephen Nicholas

Kevin C. Cox

The athletic linebacker may be on his way out of Atlanta.

Eventually, the axe falls on most everyone in the NFL. It doesn't matter how long you've contributed, whether you're a great person off the field or how much the fans care about you. If your production doesn't live up to your cap number—or if a team is in a cap crunch—you may be gone.

Stephen Nicholas unfortunately may be one of those casualties.

On paper, Nicholas had one of his best seasons last year, putting up nearly 100 tackles, deflecting four passes, coming up with two sacks and picking off one pass. A closer look at how he fared in general against both the pass and the run, however, shows you that he was average in both facets over the life of the season.

That in and of itself wouldn't be a problem, if not for cap realities. This is a deep rookie class of linebackers, Nicholas is about to hit 30 years of age and he carries a $3.5 million cap hit for 2013. When the Falcons are going to be scrounging for every penny they can to sign impact free agents and ink their draft class, $3.5 million seems like quite a bit of money. Unfortunately, they'd save less than a million by letting him go, but if they think they can upgrade, it may still be tempting.

I'll be clear: I'd hate to see Nicholas go. I think he got a bit of a bad rap from fans this last year, he's clearly a great dude and he works extremely hard on the field. But if you can replace him on the cheap—and it seems possible this year—then most organizations would part ways with him. I suspect the Falcons are at least thinking of the possibility.

Your thoughts?

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join The Falcoholic

You must be a member of The Falcoholic to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at The Falcoholic. You should read them.

Join The Falcoholic

You must be a member of The Falcoholic to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at The Falcoholic. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker