The Falcons may not have the available funds to make a major splash in free agency, but they’ve given themselves a bit of leeway with some creative tinkering to quarterback Matt Ryan’s contract. As first reported by ESPN’s Field Yates, the Atlanta Falcons have freed up $7 million in cap space by converting $8.75 million of Ryan’s 2019 base salary into a signing bonus. The move will allow the Falcons to potentially address holes on both lines by bringing in a couple of new faces in free agency.
The Falcons created $7M in cap space by converting $8.75M of QB Matt Ryan's base salary in 2019 into a signing bonus, per source. Wiggle room for Atlanta.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) March 12, 2019
Although free agency doesn’t officially start until Wednesday, teams are allowed to negotiate with pending free agents and come to agreements — the formality of putting the pen to paper occurring when players can sign at 4:00 pm tomorrow.
The contracts currently being doled out have induced some league-wide sticker shock, and put a fairly solid damper on Atlanta’s ability to add to their team via the pool of free agents. By restructuring Matt Ryan’s contract, the Falcons will have nearly $13 million in available cap — a significant portion of which will be used to ink Julio Jones to a new deal and get the rookie class under contract.
It may not be much, but the Falcons have afforded themselves some breathing room to make moves during the free agency period. We’ll see over the next few days how they choose to utilize their newly available funds.