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Thinking ahead to likely Atlanta Falcons cap casualties

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The Falcons will want to carve out major cap space to pursue a handful of terrific free agents, and these are the likeliest candidates.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons figure to have a healthy amount of cap space in 2016, but they could add significantly more if they're hot on a couple of big name free agents, and they can do so without crippling the team.

Here's a short list of candidates.

William Moore

30 years old, contract expires after 2017, Falcons save $3.2 million by cutting him

The Falcons have gotten solid production from young safeties like Robenson Therezie and Kemal Ishmael, and even Charles Godfrey has had a good game filling in at safety for Willy Mo. Moore is a wonderful dude, a big hitter, and a playmaker at safety, but he's now over 30, and a mix of injuries and ineffectiveness marred his 2015 campaign. If the Falcons plan to draft or sign a safety, or they're just satisfied with the young guys, it's likely Moore will be out.

I'll be sad to see it happen, but he remains the likeliest candidate to go, and the Falcons will be able to use that $3-plus million.

Roddy White

34 years old, contract expires after 2016, Falcons save $2.4 million by cutting him

This would be wrenching, but I'm not willing to call it impossible. Roddy's going to be 35 in the near future, he's only recently become a semi-major part of the passing game again, and the money saved here is not chump change. I ultimately think Roddy spends another year here, but I'll be nervously watching for the next couple of months.

Paul Soliai

32 years old, contract expires after 2018, Falcons save $2.7 million by cutting him

Things are getting crowded on the defensive interior, where Ra'Shede Hageman is growing, Grady Jarrett looks terrific, and Tyson Jackson, Jonathan Babineaux, Soliai, and Joey Mbu all have roles to play. While he's a fantastic run defender, Soliai probably is the most logical cut there, both because his release saves a bit of money (the Falcons are on the hook for a big cap hit, however) and because he's older and arguably more one-dimensional than everyone else.

I wouldn't be stunned to see any of the Falcons' veteran defensive tackles get the axe, but Soliai's the clubhouse favorite heading into the offseason.

Tyson Jackson

29 years old, contract expires after 2018, Falcons save $1.55 million by cutting him

I'm not saying T-Jax is safe, because it's very possible the Falcons move on from him if they keep Paul Soliai, considering they have Ra'Shede Hageman, Jonathan Babineaux, and Grady Jarrett on the interior, to say nothing of intriguing undrafted free agent Joey Mbu. Jackson has been a solid run defender and the savings aren't huge here, but somebody's got to go from this group in 2016. Babineaux won't save the team much money.

Andy Levitre

29 years old, contract expires after 2018, Falcons save $1.2 million by cutting him

Levitre has been one of the bigger liabilities on this offensive line much of the season, though he's had his moments. The Falcons will save a lot more if they cut him in 2017, when there's about $4 million in savings to be realized, but the Falcons could look at his uninspiring 2015 play and decide to go in a different direction in the season ahead. If Mike Person moves to guard and the Falcons bring Chris Chester back again as a cheap one-year add (or they draft a rookie), Levitre might be out.

Justin Durant

30 years old, contract expires after 2017, Falcons save about $2.5 million by cutting him

I didn't expect to add Durant to this list, but it turns out his contract allows it. Brooks Reed will probably be in Atlanta in 2016, Nate Stupar figures to be back, Paul Worrilow could be an option, and the Falcons seem like a lock to draft a linebacker high in this upcoming draft. All things considered, and with Durant's ongoing injury issues, it's certainly within the realm of possibility that he's a free agent again in 2016.

Who would you cut ties with?