Free safety Thomas DeCoud was released by the Falcons back in March, and has since signed with the Carolina Panthers. DeCoud would have carried a cap hit of $4.8 million dollars in 2014 for the Falcons, and with $1.8 million guaranteed that will revert to a dead money cap hit, DeCoud's release saved the Falcons a net amount $3 million dollars. Sounds simple, right? Well, not really.
Under the current CBA, each team in the NFL is permitted to designate up to two players as post-June 1st releases, even if said players are released well in advance of June 1st. This designation allows the released players to have a shot at landing with another team during free agency, which is preferable to being released after June 1st when the dust of free agency and the draft has settled and rosters have begun to take shape for the coming season.
This scenario also permits the teams that released said players to amortize any guaranteed money--which turns into dead money after a player is released and counts against a team's cap space--over the course of two seasons, as opposed to absorbing the dead money cap hit all at once.
What this means specifically for the Falcons is that they have to count DeCoud's 2014 contract numbers against their cap in their entirety until after today. As of tomorrow, $3 million of that money will come off the books. All that will remain for 2014 will be $600,000--his prorated bonus that was due in 2014--in dead money. The additional $1.2 million in dead money for DeCoud will be pushed to the 2015 cap.
Dead money is a necessary evil when making difficult personnel choices to field the best team possible, but this post-June 1st designation takes a little of the sting out of the dead money for DeCoud. It's nice for the team to have a little more cap space heading into the season.
At present, and until the start of the regular season, teams only have to officially count their top 51 contracts against the cap. OverTheCap.com has the Falcons' top 51 contracts at $121,895,932, including DeCoud's contract. As of tomorrow, that should drop to $117,695,932, giving the Falcons quite a lot of breathing room against the $133 million cap ceiling until the start of the regular season.
What do you think about the cap savings that comes with designating DeCoud as a post-June 1st cut? Do you think the team should do anything in particular with that money?