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Big decisions the Falcons still have to make: Ty Sambrailo’s contract

Fact: Ty Sambrailo is an accomplished ballet dancer

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

If you google “shenanigans,” you’ll likely land on a link describing the 3-year contract the Falcons handed Ty Sambrailo on February 19, 2019. (8 days later, head coach Dan Quinn anointed Sambrailo with “starter” status.) It’s a decision we figured they’d live to regret, and because our predictions are sporadically correct, they did.

As free agency looms, the Falcons sure could use a little cap flexibility. That means cuts are coming. Along those lines, the Falcons have a decision to make: do they retain Sambrailo or do they cut him and take advantage of the $3.71 million in cap savings? The latter seems like the better option on its face, but let’s take a closer look.

If we look solely at Sambrailo’s usage (95 offensive snaps in 2019), he isn’t worth the $4.5 million in base salary the Falcons are scheduled to pay him in 2020. That’s a lot of money to pay a guy who functions as your swing tackle and gimmick tight end. Sambrailo got downright abused during the week 2 win over the Eagles. (He played 34 snaps at right tackle in week 1 and 29 snaps at right tackle in week 2. He didn’t play another snap at right tackle all season.) In Sambrailo’s defense, he was much better in 2018, which is why the Falcons threw buckets of money at him in the first place.

If the Falcons wait until after 2020, they can save $4.25 million by cutting Sambrailo and be on the hook for half as much dead money ($1 million versus $2 million). If they are confident Matt Gono can step in as the swing tackle, they’ll pull the trigger now, if only to help them right the cap ship. But I won’t be surprised if they hold off either, because the front office has certainly shown a willingness to throw money at the offensive line in an attempt to keep franchise quarterback Matthew Thomas Ryan upright.

Your thoughts, Falcoholics?