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Analyzing the Falcons’ contract with Allen Bailey and how it impacts the salary cap

The two-year deal provides some flexibility, but the team’s cap space is still a bit tight now.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

After the losses of Steven Means and Michael Bennett to injury, it was clear the Falcons needed some quality depth on their defensive line. Signing veteran Allen Bailey was a good move by the front office, though questions lingered about how his two-year, $10.5 million deal would impact the team’s cap situation.

Well, we finally know the details thanks to OverTheCap.

Contract details

Allen Bailey’s contract is essentially structured as a one-year deal with a reasonable option to play out the second year. It’s a good deal for Bailey and for the Falcons and it allows the team to keep him an additional year if he proves to be a highly productive member this year. Here’s how it breaks down.

The 2019 base salary is $2.75 million, of which only $500,000 is guaranteed. He also received a $3M signing bonus and will earn a total of $250,000 in roster bonuses if he is with the team for all 16 games. That makes his 2019 cap hit $4.5 million.

The 2020 base salary is $3.5 million with no guarantees, but does include a $750,000 roster bonus which is paid on March 17th. This will be the ultimate cutoff date for determining whether Bailey will be on the team in 2020 or not. He also has the same $250,000 in roster bonus, which would lift his 2020 cap number to $6 million.

2020 and going forward

The Falcons now have about $3.8 million in cap space left for 2019. That likely means the team is not going to be spending much more this year. Any deal with Julio will probably not impact the cap space much in 2019, unless the Falcons decide to front-load a little more this year to take advantage of the cap space remaining.

Should the 2020 cap hit the projected $200 million figure that OTC is using, the Falcons are currently just under $9 million OVER the cap for 2020. Again, that’s without a Julio extension on the books and without extending Austin Hooper, De’Vondre Campbell and others. We’ve already discuss potential options for freeing up cap space (contract restructures for Jake Matthews and Grady Jarrett seem very likely), so we won’t get into those details again here.

As for Bailey, the team can save $4.5 million against the 2020 cap if they cut him with only $1.5 million in dead money off his deal. However, if he really lights it up in 2019, it’s not unreasonable to think the team might consider keeping him next year as well. If they do, it will require some cap gymnastics to make sure they stay in compliance.

What are your thoughts on the Allen Bailey contract?