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Falcons likely free cap space with contract moves with Matt Ryan, Jake Matthews

These moves likely explain how the team was able to sign both Dante Fowler and Todd Gurley.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Atlanta Falcons Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons have surprised many people by making several big splashes in the first week of the 2020 season. After trading for 3rd year tight end Hayden Hurst, the team then signed pass rusher Dante Fowler and just signed recently cut running back (and former UGA alum) Todd Gurley.

The question is how did a team with limited cap space make these moves? Well, it looks like they restructured the deals for Matt Ryan, Jake Matthews and Allen Bailey to make it happen.

At this point we don’t have any details from the NFL transaction wire and the team hasn’t made any formal announcements about these moves. That said, we do have a rough idea of how much cap space the team could have freed up with the Ryan and Matthews deals.

If the teams maxes out the salary-to-bonus conversion for both Matt Ryan and Jake Matthews, they could free up as much as 12M in 2020 cap space. That cap space is likely what was needed to get the Fowler and Gurley deals done. Since Allen Bailey is on the last year of a two year deal, he may have received a small extension in order to reduce his cap hit for this season.

For those wondering, Ryan and Matthews likely did not have to sign off on these salary-to-bonus conversions as this is now boilerplate language built into almost every NFL contract. The move simply converts the yearly salary to a bonus, allowing the team to spread the cap hit across the remaining contract seasons instead of it hitting all in 2020.

Once we know the details of these moves, we will report them back here.