What's the cap situation for the Falcons? That's the question everyone wants to ask heading into the offseason. The Falcons have some holes that need to be filled in free agency with only five draft picks to play with in April. Atlanta has the talented core locked in this season, but additional talent will be needed for them to really take that next step under Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff in 2016.
Matt Ryan, Signed through 2018, $23,750,000.00 2016 Cap Hit
The Falcons franchise quarterback has three more years left on the six-year deal he signed before the 2013 season. For the first two years of the deal, there was no question as to whether he was worth the money. A new scheme completely different from any scheme he ever played in hurt his production this season. The Falcons still have their franchise quarterback in Ryan, but should he completely fall off of a cliff the way Matt Schaub did, they have an out after the 2016 season.
Sean Renfree, Signed through 2016, $686,474.00 2016 Cap Hit
Sean Renfree enters the final year of his rookie contract. For a backup quarterback, the Falcons have one at the right price. However, Renfree could be easily improved upon. He's a mediocre overall talent at quarterback, but his inability to put any velocity on his throws makes him easily replaceable.
Matt Simms, Signed through 2016, $600,000.00 2016 Cap Hit
The former Jets quarterback is a mediocre talent and someone who shouldn't be on a true NFL roster due to a lack of talent. Matt Simms' $600,000 cap hit should be fine while he's in training camp, but once the Falcons get to first cuts, he should be a member of that list.
Ryan isn't going anywhere and will be the starter. Both Simms and Renfree have earned a shot to compete for the backup job in training camp. After that, nothing is sacred. Expect the Falcons to at least look at some quarterbacks in free agency and in training camp to compete for the backup role with Simms and Renfree. Matt Schaub, Matt Cassel, Tavaris Jackson and Matt Hasselbeck could all be good options for the Falcons this offseason.
Running Backs and Fullbacks
Devonta Freeman, Signed through 2017, $721,106.00 2016 Cap Hit
For a second-team All-Pro, Devonta Freeman is getting paid extremely little. The Falcons will definitely keep him as their starter as long as he continues to produce the way he did in 2015. If anything, the fact that he isn't making a ton of cash right now should be used to the team's advantage while they try and find some upgrades along the offensive line so that he isn't hit in the backfield as much.
Tevin Coleman, Signed through 2018, $753,811.00 2016 Cap Hit
Despite being a bit of a letdown as a rookie, Tevin Coleman still has three more years to prove his worth within the scheme. The Falcons aren't going to be paying him anywhere north of $1 million during his entire rookie contract, so they can take the time to develop him into a change of pace running back at worst. One possible scenario is that Coleman will get signed after his deal to a long-term deal for somewhere else and the Falcons can get a compensatory pick.
Terron Ward, Signed through 2017, $525,333.33 2016 Cap Hit
For a No. 3 running back, the Falcons could do much worse than Terron Ward. At least Ward can pass protect and has some receiving ability to speak of. However, the Falcons could also improve on Ward. On the bright side, he's not going to cost much as he's making just over $300 more than a second-year minimum salary this season.
Gus Johnson, Signed through 2017, $450,000.00 2016 Cap Hit
Gus Johnson is making the rookie minimum this season as a potential camp body. If he can show something in training camp, the Falcons could consider him for something more. But his contract basically means that his roster spot is set unless the Falcons find someone that they definitely think is better suited to win a role.
Patrick DiMarco, Signed through 2016, $797,500.00 2016 Cap Hit
The Atlanta Falcons have a second-team All-Pro at fullback as well. However, fullbacks don't get paid a ton and are rarely on the field for most other teams. Because of that, DiMarco could be near the top of the market for a fullback right now and no one would argue with it. However, he isn't. He's making just under $800,000 and will be more than worth his contract in 2016.
Collin Mooney, Signed through 2016, $525,000.00 2016 Cap Hit
Collin Mooney was injured in 2015 and sat the whole season out on injured reserve. In preseason, some thought that the Falcons would have been better off keeping Mooney active instead of DiMarco. For 2016, the Falcons could wind up keeping both active if Mooney shows more running back talent than Ward does. His contract is about the same and the worst case scenario for Mooney is a practice squad slot.
Not a single player in this unit should be cut. The Falcons also shouldn't look to add a big contract to a unit that features a pair of second-team All-Pros in Freeman and DiMarco. Add in potential with Coleman and Mooney, and the Falcons might just have the best, young, most affordable group of running backs in the NFL right now.
Julio Jones, Signed through 2020, $15,900,000.00 2016 Cap Hit
Julio Jones just signed his contract last offseason, and it's still one that the Falcons can build the team around. Considering he performed like he was the best wide receiver in the NFL in 2015, it's tough to argue with his cap hit for 2016. The Falcons should continue to see great production from Jones for the next few years if he can continue to stay healthy. Jones is just 27 on opening day and has yet to his his true potential.
Roddy White, Signed through 2017, $6,137,500.00 2016 Cap Hit
This decision is going to be tough. But in all honesty, Roddy White should be cut this offseason. The 34-year old receiver is the best receiver in Falcons history—until Julio breaks his records. But he's at that point in his career where the cost doesn't represent the value. Atlanta would save $2.36 million in 2016 and $6.39 million in 2017. They could put that money towards another receiver who deserves to be the No. 2 to Julio Jones.
Devin Hester, Signed through 2016, $3,833,333.34 2016 Cap Hit
The Falcons brought in Hester to be primarily a return specialist. And in 2014, he was a receiver who contributed as arguably the best return specialist in the league and a very competent slot receiver while Roddy White or Harry Douglas was injured. In 2015, he played a handful of games and showed no real fit in the new scheme and wasn't explosive coming off of his toe injury. It wouldn't hurt for the Falcons to cut Hester and combine the $3 million he'd save with Roddy's $2.36 million and throw it at a competent No. 2 wide receiver.
Eric Weems, Signed through 2016, $1,147,500.00 2016 Cap Hit
While the move would save just $935,000, cutting Eric Weems does make sense. Special teams are definitely important, but Weems wasn't entirely an asset. The Falcons could use Nick Williams at a cheaper cap hit and wind up getting similar production. The combined money from Weems, White and Hester would be around $6 million per year for 2016 and 2017, and that could be a good first two years for a receiver in free agency.
Justin Hardy, Signed through 2018, $660,205.00 2016 Cap Hit
Rookie contracts really are amazing. Talented players like Justin Hardy who have already proven to be competent NFL players with potential to be even better are signed for super cheap. Hardy is definitely coming back in 2016 and should be one of the three receivers on the roster who are 100 percent safe.
Nick Williams, Signed through 2016, $600,000.00 2016 Cap Hit
Nick Williams showed ability to hurt defenses out of the slot and as a true special teams player in 2015. That alone makes him worth his very minimal cap hit. His two touchdown catches in clutch situations doesn't hurt either. The Falcons shouldn't even think about cutting him unless they find a bunch of people who are better.
C.J. Goodwin, Signed through 2017, $450,000.00 2016 Cap Hit
Jordan Leslie, Signed through 2017, $450,000.00 2016 Cap Hit
These two receivers finished 2015 on the Falcons practice squad and are signed to camp body deals. Neither one of them earned a roster spot in 2015, but if they show out in camp, they might be able to sneak on the roster in 2016. It all just depends on how the Falcons view them and who they cut this offseason.
R.J. Harris, Exclusive Rights Free Agent
The Falcons had R.J. Harris on their practice squad towards the end of the season but have yet to sign him to a futures contract. There's nothing wrong with that, though. If the Falcons did sign him for a camp contract, he would likely just be cut in training camp barring a huge improvement.
Jones, Williams and Hardy look to be 100 percent safe. The rest of the group could be in flux though. Atlanta could clear over $6 million off the books in each 2016 and 2017 cutting the aging Hester, White and Weems and improve them with some of the players available. Ideally, they would target Mohammed Sanu, Travis Benjamin, Rishard Matthews or even potentially break the bank for Alshon Jeffery should the Bears be dumb enough to let him walk this offseason.
Jacob Tamme, Signed through 2016, $1,784,375.00 2016 Cap Hit
The Falcons got Jacob Tamme to give them the eighth-most receiving yards and seventh-most catches from a tight end in a single season with his production in 2015. The other two players who are in that group are Alge Crumpler and Tony Gonzalez. The fact that he did this for under $2 million per year makes him worth keeping. The Falcons could improve upon Tamme, but it's not 100 percent necessary this offseason. Worst case for 2016 is Tamme plays an H-back role for his $1.78 million salary.
Levine Toilolo, Signed through 2016, $750,146.00 2016 Cap Hit
Levine Toilolo is entering the final season of his contract looking like a bit of project even still. There's nothing wrong with that because his salary is still barely over $750 thousand, but the Falcons could do better than him this offseason. Long term, Atlanta shouldn't re-sign Toilolo in the future unless it's for a minimal deal.
Beau Gardner, Signed through 2017, $525,000.00 2016 Cap Hit
The Falcons have Beau Gardner signed to a deal that would pay him veteran minimum for a second-year player. There's nothing wrong with that as he deserves the shot to prove himself this offseason. He was injured in 2015 and looked solid in training camp before suffering the season ending injury.
D.J. Tialavea, Signed through 2016, $525,000.00 2016 Cap Hit
Atlanta could do much worse for depth than D.J. Tialavea. Their value-packed contract for a potential backup makes Tialavea worth keeping. He was a practice squad player for part of the year and looked solid in preseason, but Atlanta could improve upon him if they wanted to.
Tony Moeaki, Unrestricted Free Agent
Tony Moeaki's season was an up and down roller coaster of a ride. The Falcons could have cut him after he got called for clipping in the end zone during a touchdown run, but decided against it. Then, he rewarded their faith with a big touchdown catch against the Saints. Atlanta should consider bringing Moeaki back, but only if he'll sign the same veteran minimum deal that he signed before.
Atlanta has a good core at tight end with Toilolo and Tamme, but they need to add some real talent at the top. If they could get someone who could block and catch, they might have a legitimate shot at scoring more in the red zone. A couple of intriguing names out there would be Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener of the Colts. Both of them fit the scheme Atlanta runs and would be upgrades over Tamme in blocking and receiving.
Jake Matthews, Signed through 2017, $4,480,773.00 2016 Cap Hit
The Falcons best offensive lineman in 2015 was easily star left tackle Jake Matthews. He vastly improved from an injury plagued 2014 to show he's one of the top 10 left tackles in the NFL in 2015. He should only continue to improve, as his ceiling could propel him to Joe Thomas levels. For the money he's being paid, the Falcons have a great tackle at his exact value.
Andy Levitre, Signed through 2018, $5,375,000.00 2016 Cap Hit
The Falcons traded for Andy Levitre right before the 2015 season and promptly re-signed him to a longer contract. He wasn't amazing in 2015, but he also wasn't horrible either. His right on average play at left guard might be getting a bit overpaid, but the Falcons can't afford to create another hole and hurt chemistry on the left side of the line this season. He should stick in Atlanta as the starting left guard this season.
Mike Person, Signed through 2017, $1,166,666.67 2016 Cap Hit
Mike Person starting at center in 2015 was the worst thing for the Falcons offense. His messed up snaps and poor line calls were detrimental to the Falcons. His cap hit is great for a backup, though, and should he show the ability to start at either guard spot, the Falcon would have a good value there. His blocking wasn't terrible in 2015, but he shouldn't be the center in 2016.
James Stone, Signed through 2016, $601,333.34 2016 Cap Hit
The Falcons got solid play out of James Stone over the past two seasons when he was on the field for them. He is a good backup center, and for a minimum contract, he's more than worth the money. The only way Stone won't be a Falcon in 2016 is if the Falcons can sign a true center and believe that Person is just a better football player and gets replaced by a signing or drafting the starting center.
Ben Garland, Signed through 2016, $600,000.00 2016 Cap Hit
Collin Rahrig, Signed through 2017, $450,000.00 2016 Cap Hit
Ben Garland and Collin Rahrig are backup caliber players who deserve shots in camp based on the tiny contracts they are signed under. Their long term future is likely on the practice squad or as the eighth and ninth offensive linemen on the roster and rarely active on game days barring injury.
Ryan Schraeder, Restricted Free Agent
Ryan Schraeder showed his prowess as a right tackle in the NFL this past season with the switch to the zone blocking scheme. He's a restricted free agent and deserves to be re-signed for at least the first-round tender for 2016. This would make it to where if a team signed him away from the Falcons this offseason, they would at least get a first round pick to replace him. The Falcons should end up signing him long-term after the 2016 season.
Chris Chester, Unrestricted Free Agent
While the Falcons got solid play out of Chris Chester in 2015, he's past his prime and on a down slope. They shouldn't continue to pay for his decline unless his salary declines as well. Atlanta shouldn't re-sign Chester for more than $1.75 million this coming offseason if they want to make sure he's worth the contract.
Jake Long, Unrestricted Free Agent
Gino Gradkowski, Unrestricted Free Agent
Bryce Harris, Unrestricted Free Agent
Jake Long, Gino Gradkowski and Bryce Harris provided solid depth for the Falcons in 2015 within the zone blocking scheme. For the long term, none of these guys should be on the roster as a starter. However, if any of them will sign a veteran minimum deal, the Falcons should definitely consider it. A minimum cap hit for competent backup ability is always worth the money.
Adam Replogle, Exclusive Rights Free Agent
The Falcons have had Adam Replogle on their roster and on the practice squad for the last three seasons. He's pretty much just a practice and camp body at this point in his career. Should the Falcons sign him for a minimal contract to be a body for camp? Of course. And they likely will.
The Falcons have three of their five starting offensive linemen under contract at this moment in Mike Person, Jake Matthews and Andy Levitre. One of the two that isn't under contract is Ryan Schraeder, and he should be easily re-signed. After him, the Falcons could find upgrades at both guard spots while also keeping Person and Levitre as competition for whomever they bring in. Center is by far the biggest need, though.
Paul Soliai, Signed through 2018, $6,837,500.00 2016 Cap Hit
The Falcons most expensive interior defensive lineman is Paul Soliai. He's also one of their biggest leaders on the interior of the defense and deserves to be paid well for the big bodied abilities that only he provides. The Falcons run defense is completely different without Soliai in there eating up blockers. The Falcons could save some cap if they cut Soliai, but trying to replace him with someone the same size and ability would be very tough. Bill Parcells used to say that there's only so many 300-plus pounders on the planet, and Soliai is one of the even fewer athletic 340-pounders.
Tyson Jackson, Signed through 2018, $6,350,000.00 2016 Cap Hit
The Falcons used Tyson Jackson as a 5-technique in 2015, and his play improved tremendously from the egg he laid in 2014. However, his contract balloons up this year like a lease payment on a Mercedes-Benz. And much like a Mercedes, the Falcons need to cut bait after their two-year lease is up. Getting rid of Jackson before June 1st would save $1.55 million in 2016 and $5.85 million in 2017. If they cut him after June 1st, they save $4.75 million in 2016 and $3.65 million in 2017. Either way, the full $5.85 million cap hit in 2018 would be erased from the books.
Jonathan Babineaux, Signed through 2016, $2,666,666.67 2016 Cap Hit
Jonathan Babineaux proved in 2015 that he still was an effective player despite being nearly 35 years old. He'll continue to show his prowess as a penetrating rotational defensive tackle for the Falcons in 2015 as cutting him would save what would amount to be a negligible $2.0 million. For someone as impactful as Babineaux still is, that's peanuts and more than worth it to keep him.
Ra'Shede Hageman, Signed through 2017, $1,455,230.00 2016 Cap Hit
For a starting three-technique in the NFL, Ra'Shede Hageman is getting paid a very affordable amount. His rookie deal doesn't handcuff the Falcons at all. It's nice because it allows Atlanta to develop him at whatever rate works best for both him and the team. Hageman started showing some flashes in 2015 that he was finally starting to get it and could wind up being a ridiculously good value in 2016 if he takes that next step.
Adrian Clayborn, Unrestricted Free Agent
Adrian Clayborn was a solid signing for a rotational player in 2015. However, the Falcons could easily find someone better in the draft or free agency to replace him as a defensive end. As a tackle in the nickel sets, Grady Jarrett should be able to improve and take Clayborn's spot, so that would make him expendable. Unless Clayborn turns out to be a good fit as a starting defensive end for the Falcons, signing him to a big deal doesn't make any sense.
Malliciah Goodman, Signed through 2016, $774,272.00 2016 Cap Hit
For good, cheap depth, it's tough to do better than a rookie contract. Malliciah Goodman is still developing as a talent and could turn out to be the big steal of 2016 should he take the next step as a pass rusher and run defender. Atlanta should still continue to look for more people so that Goodman could be challenge more for his roster spot in camp, though. Goodman's contract is ideal for a reserve.
Grady Jarrett, Signed through 2018, $586,963.00 2016 Cap Hit
The Falcons got a steal in Grady Jarrett in the fifth round of the 2015 draft. Atlanta should use him in a role that will take advantage of his excellent interior penetration skills on nickel packages with Jonathan Babineaux playing a three-technique next to him. Atlanta got good production out of him as a rookie and should continue to reap rewards from his play for the next few years at a very affordable rate.
Joey Mbu, Signed through 2016, $525,000.00 2016 Cap Hit
Joey Mbu got promoted from the practice squad in 2015 late in the season and performed well in limited snaps. However, he's still a work in progress with potential to eventually fill a role in the main defense as a big body in the middle. He's not going to 100 percent replace Paul Soliai this year without major strides in his game, but he could eventually become a big body for run downs.
Atlanta has talent for days on the interior defensive line. Cutting Tyson Jackson looks like it is almost a given. But it just depends on if the team wants to wait until they sign or draft someone better before they do so. If the Falcons draft DeForest Buckner or someone similar in the first round and haven't cut Jackson yet at that point, it wouldn't be shocking to see them wait until after June 1st to do so. The big need on the line would be someone to replace Jackson in base packages that can stuff the run well but also has some value as a pass rusher.
Brooks Reed, Signed through 2019, $3,440,000.00 2016 Cap Hit
Brooks Reed was a disappointment as a first year signing at strong-side linebacker. He'll have another chance this season to show he's worth the contract. If he doesn't, the Falcons can get rid of him after the season for more than enough savings over the next three seasons that would allow the Falcons to bring in a better pass rusher.
Vic Beasley, Signed through 2018, $3,294,370.00 2016 Cap Hit
The Falcons leading pass rusher in 2015 has barely scratched the surface of his potential. Vic Beasley will continue to develop and showed flashes in 2015 that he could be that premiere pass rusher that Atlanta has been missing since they cut John Abraham. He needs some help in future seasons, but as of right now, he's got to fill his role as the team's best outside rusher.
Tyler Starr, Signed through 2016, $600,000.00 2016 Cap Hit
The Falcons have a talented reserve in Tyler Starr at a very cheap cap hit for this coming season. He's going to be worth bringing to camp for sure, but if he impresses even past that and earns a roster spot, the Falcons should have an option to bring him back for cheap come 2017.
O'Brien Schofield, Unrestricted Free Agent
Kroy Biermann, Unrestricted Free Agent
O'Brien Schofield and Kroy Biermann combined to play a ton of snaps in 2015. They are both solid players, but their combined cap hit of around $4.5 million in 2015 should be re-distributed to better talent. If the Falcons can take that money and put it towards Bruce Irvin or combining it with the cap hit from Durant's potential cut and putting it towards a talent like Danny Trevathan would help the defense tremendously.
Dontay Moch, Unrestricted Free Agent
Xzavier Dickson, Exclusive Rights Free Agent
Dontay Moch and Xzavier Dickson were late adds to the practice squad for the Falcons in 2015. It doesn't make sense to bring them back or into training camp unless they will take veteran minimum deals for their tenure. Atlanta could do better than either player pretty easily.
The Falcons have some questions to answer here when it comes to re-signing players with Schofield and Biermann. But overall, they should look into adding someone who can rotate in full time with Reed and Beasley as a pure pass rusher. Bruce Irvin is the big name that really pops out, and Atlanta could get him for a reasonable contract for his talent level—something like four years, $16 million seems like his ideal range.
Justin Durant, Signed through 2017, $3,182,291.67 2016 Cap Hit
Justin Durant wasn't very good in 2015 in the Falcons scheme. He continually was blocked out of plays or over-pursued. Atlanta doesn't need to actively look for a replacement for Durant just yet, as he has shown the ability in past stops to be a fringe-Pro Bowl talent. However, if they can find a better player to play weak-side linebacker, Atlanta needs to cut ties with Durant.
Paul Worrilow, Restricted Free Agent
While Paul Worrilow isn't the most effective player in the new scheme, he did improve from 2014 to 2015. The Falcons could still upgrade on the third year pro out of Delaware, though. Ideally, they re-sign Worrilow for a cheaper restricted free agent contract, and should they lose him, they get a second-round pick. Should they keep him, they should get good depth for cheap if he loses his starting job.
Phillip Wheeler, Unrestricted Free Agent
The Falcons signed Phillip Wheeler late in the season for depth and wound up getting the most out of the former Georgia Tech product for a few games. Atlanta should consider bringing him back, but shouldn't break the bank for him. If he does come back, something close to the veteran minimum should be the deal he signs.
Nate Stupar, Restricted Free Agent
Nate Stupar is a good linebacker and solid special teams player. However, he shouldn't have a massive extension signed despite performing well late in the year. Atlanta should give him the minimum right of first refusal restricted tender this offseason and bring him back for depth for cheap.
Curtis Grant, Exclusive Rights Free Agent
The Falcons had Curtis Grant on their practice squad in 2015 and likely would just bring him in as a camp body for 2016. His pay in the next two season if he could earn a roster spot would be at veteran minimum for a first or second year player and would be a very negligible hit against the cap.
Durant, Worrilow, Wheeler and Stupar should all be re-signed or retained so that they can be there for training camp. However, the Falcons should look at linebackers early in the draft to upgrade the position with some speed and coverage ability. Atlanta could have a really good group of linebackers, but no one on the roster should be a long-term starter for the team unless they can turn into a Pro Bowl caliber player magically.
Desmond Trufant, Signed through 2016, $2,598,303.00 2016 Cap Hit
The Falcons can activate Desmond Trufant's fifth-year option this offseason and would be dumb to not do so. He's been more than worth the salary that a top five cornerback in the NFL makes and is easily the best overall player on the Falcons defense. The only negative to Trufant is that he doesn't create enough turnovers, but that is more due to a lack of opportunity coming his way than a lack of talent.
Robert Alford, Signed through 2016, $1,082,263.00 2016 Cap Hit
Robert Alford had a rough rookie and sophomore season, but he finally came into his own as a top-20 level corner across from Trufant in 2015. He's entering his contract year in 2016, and while the Falcons don't need to re-sign him right away, they should consider re-signing him pretty quickly once he starts to out-perform his contract again this season. As an underrated corner, he should see pretty reasonable money for his second contract.
Jalen Collins, Signed through 2018, $1,233,599.00 2016 Cap Hit
The Falcons took Jalen Collins in the second round because of his potential within the scheme. He could be a great fit long term as the third corner behind Alford and Trufant or as the starter should the Falcons let Alford walk after this season. Collins' rookie deal isn't a hindrance for the Falcons at all and even if he doesn't develop into a competent starting cornerback, it would allow them to have him as affordable depth for nickel sets.
Akeem King, Signed through 2016, $525,000.00 2016 Cap Hit
Atlanta knew Akeem King was going to be a project from the moment he was drafted. He didn't see much time on defense until late in the season when he was playing more of a dime role in the defense. Long term, that might be his best role, but he showed enough range and coverage ability against tight ends to be the Falcons specialist against those this season.
Phillip Adams, Unrestricted Free Agent
The Falcons had Adams under a veteran minimum contract for 2015, and he gave them a veteran minimum effort. If he'll re-up for the same contract, the Falcons should bring him back for 2016. Best case for him would be earning back his nickel cornerback job for another season. Otherwise, he can kick rocks.
Travis Howard, Signed through 2016, $450,000.00 2016 Cap Hit
Travis Howard is under a cheap contract that is basically a prove-it situation. Howard played at Ohio State and was a good football player for the college ranks but hasn't shown to be worth a contract so far in the pros. Either he is worth the bare minimum contract he's currently signed to, or he'll be cut in training camp.
Terrance Parks, Exclusive Rights Free Agent
The Falcons could sign Terrance Parks for the minimum for two years and see what they have in training camp. Parks was on the Falcons practice squad towards the end of the season and long-term doesn't look like anything but a backup for the Falcons, at best. But this looks like a warm body for August.
Atlanta's cornerback unit of Trufant, Alford, Collins and King should be a good enough group to last for a few years together. Trufant and Alford are both looking at big pay days in the future, too. If Atlanta is smart, they'll continue to bring along Collins slowly and have the rangy King as their dime corner and tight end specialist.
William Moore, Signed through 2017, $6,493,750.00 2016 Cap Hit
Out of all of the safeties on the Falcons roster, William Moore's job might be the least safe. His play hasn't said that he's worth his projected cap hit, and the Falcons would save $3.194 million in 2015 and $8.65 million in 2016. If they don't cut him, the Falcons are doing a disservice to the team. Moore may be a leader, but at this point in his career, he's anything but the Pro Bowl talent that earned his current contract.
Ricardo Allen, Exclusive Rights Free Agent
The Falcons got a true starting free safety out of Ricardo Allen. While he's not a Pro Bowl level player, he showed the ability of an average NFL starter within the confines of the scheme in what was essentially his rookie season. If he can take the next step with his game, the Falcons might have something special. On an Exclusive Rights contract for the next three seasons, he'd be veteran minimum-priced too. Atlanta needs to bring him back for that rate.
Kemal Ishmael, Signed through 2016, $686,474.00 2016 Cap Hit
Kemal Ishmael has done such a solid job in the new scheme this past season, that the Falcons defense looked better when he was starting than when William Moore was starting. He's also still on his very affordable rookie contract. The Falcons should definitely have him compete for the starting job unless they can draft someone better.
Charles Godfrey, Unrestricted Free Agent
The Falcons shouldn't bring back Charles Godfrey in 2016 unless he takes a pay cut to the veteran minimum salary. He was a solid addition for the Falcons depth in 2015, but he was cut mid-way through the season and re-signed so that he wouldn't cost as much. The Falcons shouldn't invest a ton into him if he comes back in 2016.
Robensen Therezie, Signed through 2017, $525,000.00 2016 Cap Hit
Cheap depth at any position is always going to be worth keeping. The Falcons should definitely bring back Robensen Therezie after he had a very solid rookie season. The depth that he provides at both free and strong safety as well as his special teams ability makes him worth keeping on the roster until they can upgrade for cheap.
Ricardo Allen should be an easy re-signing on a projected three-year deal for the minimum each of those three years, one that will bring him through to his unrestricted free agency years. Kemal Ishmael and Robensen Therezie look safe to make it to training camp once again as their deals are minimal. The one guy who could shake things up is William Moore. If the Falcons cut him, strong safety becomes a top three round need instantly. Charles Godfrey looked solid late in the year, but if he gets re-signed, it should only be for the minimum and for depth.
Matt Bryant, Signed through 2017, $2,995,833.33 2016 Cap Hit
Because Bryant missed six games this past season, his cap hit dropped $187,500 for 2016 due to incentives. Since he's just under $3.0 million for his cap hit, the Falcons should keep him as long as he's 100 percent good to go for the season. It doesn't pay to cut one of the best kickers in the NFL. The thing to worry about here is Bryant retiring as he's turning 41 in late May.
Shayne Graham, Unrestricted Free Agent
Graham did a solid job for the Falcons this year making 11 of his 13 kicks. However, he's a free agent and with Matt Bryant signed, it doesn't make sense to keep Graham. Graham might be brought back on a minimum deal to compete with Bryant in camp, but he shouldn't be brought back for anything more than that.
Matt Bosher, Signed through 2019, $2,700,000.00 2016 Cap Hit
Josh Harris, Signed through 2018, $860,000.00 2016 Cap Hit
Bosher and Harris are one of the better snapping and holding combinations in the NFL and should stick with Atlanta throughout their contract. Bosher was a fringe Pro Bowl talent at punter and kickoff specialist this year and is going nowhere. They are the rocks of the special teams unit for a long time.
Unless Matt Bryant retires, expect for this unit to look the same as it has since 2012. Josh Harris and Matt Bosher should be sticking around for a long time, as they are two of the better players in the NFL at their positions. The three members of this unit take up less than five percent of the cap. For the production they give, this is a great value group.
Overall Cap Breakdown
2016 $28.75 million under the projected cap including a projected rollover, 49 players signed
2017 $56.84 million under the projected cap before a projected rollover, 29 players signed
2018 $95.36 million under the projected cap before a projected rollover, 13 players signed
2019 $157.21 million under the projected cap before a projected rollover, 3 players signed
2020 $158.57 million under the projected cap before a projected rollover, 1 player signed
Because of how the cap is projecting, the Falcons have more than enough room to be legitimate players in free agency this coming offseason. They also have more than enough money in future years to lock up the important pieces like Jake Matthews, Desmond Trufant, Ryan Schraeder, and Robert Alford when those all come up for new contracts in the coming years.