“How much cap space do the Falcons have?” is a question that tends to dominate the discourse around the team in February, March, and even April of most years. You want to know because you want to figure out if the Falcons can sign any big names, and whether they will.
So let’s answer that question. Just how much cap space do the Falcons have?
First off, the bad news: If you’ve been nursing dreams of getting preposterously expensive reception-muncher Jarvis Landry, or landing Carolina’s excellent guard Andrew Norwell, you probably are going to have to think again. Spotrac currently has the Falcons at $10.05 million in cap space, while Over the Cap has them at $12.175 million. Neither total is going to allow the Falcons to do a whole hell of a lot in free agency, and either way you’re talking about one reasonably big free agent contract (think Dontari Poe) and a few smaller signings.
The good news is that total will change, of course. The Falcons can free up a couple of million dollars by releasing Brooks Reed, a few million more by cutting ties with Andy Levitre, and they’ll likely squeeze a little more spending money out of a Matt Ryan extension. If the team is really serious about landing a couple of impactful, costly free agents, they more or less have to shake money free elsewhere. Reed, who is a rotational defensive end, probably makes more sense than Levitre, a valuable starting guard. We just don’t know what the Falcons will be up to until they start swinging that axe.
For now, though, operate under the assumption that the Falcons will essentially be one and done in free agency, the way they were a year ago. That means you could see Dontari Poe, a name free agent wide receiver or tight end, or even a quality veteran guard, but probably not three (and perhaps not even two) of those. This will help you avoid disappointment later on.