Free agency is coming up quickly, so teams across the NFL will be making moves with their current rosters. There aren’t too many options. They can ask a player to take a pay cut, sign them to extensions, or just outright cut them. It’s like the circle of life in the Lion King, except teams are just looking to get younger and cheaper.
We’ve made some guesses at what the Atlanta Falcons will do. I’m going to be surprised if both Brooks Reed and Derrick Shelby make the roster at their current salaries. However, Spotrac put together a list of potential cap casualties, and all three of the Falcons selections are on the offense.
Here’s what they had to say.
Matt Schaub, $5.5 million cap hit
If I’m guessing, I think the Falcons wanted to keep the offense as close to 2016 as possible. Instead of holding onto more of the coaching staff, they wanted to keep all the same players. That resulted in overpaying a few guys, including Schaub. Maybe Schaub was a good mentor with his experience in Kyle Shanahan’s offense, but that offense is gone and his contract is absurd. He luckily hasn’t had to play, but offers zero upside as a backup. There’s also a very good chance he fell below starter-level years ago. Frankly, I don’t understand why he’s here.
The Falcons can save $4.25 million by cutting Schaub. With Atlanta’s lack of needs, this would be a great year to draft a developmental backup.
Levine Toilolo, $5 million cap hit
Spotrac notes that the Falcons can find a cheaper reserve. It’s tough to disagree. This was another deal that never felt right, and may have just been based on hoping to keep the offense consistent. Well, setting aside $5 million in cap space for a backup, blocking tight end is a bad idea.
The Falcons can save between $3 million to $4 million depending on how this cut is designated. Looking for a more dynamic option would be a huge help to the offense.
Andy Levitre, $8.375 million cap hit
Spotrac suggests that a restructure is more likely than Levitre being cut, and I agree. We saw last year that the Falcons don’t have anyone behind him that is worthy of starting, so getting rid of Levtire could be a disaster. However, he has the 7th highest cap on the team. The Falcons could try getting him to take a pay cut, or adding a year or two to his current deal and pushing some of the cap hit down the road.