Posts Tagged ‘salary cap’

OTAs: Day 5 Report

June 6th, 2013 Comments off

Once again, the media had access to today’s practices on the fifth day of the Falcons OTAs. So here’s what we came away with:

Clabo gets dumped

April 4th, 2013 Comments off

Tyson Clabo

Agent Chad Speck of Allegiant Athletic Agency tweeted this morning that the Falcons had informed him that they would be releasing his client, offensive tackle Tyson Clabo. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the move will be designated a post-June 1 release to clear more cap space.

Clabo had three years left on his contract, and was set to count $6.05 million against this year’s salary cap. He received a $4 million signing bonus as part of the five-year deal he signed back in the summer of 2011, as well as a $3 million option bonus that was paid last year. The remaining prorated part of his signing bonus counts $800,000 per season, while the option bonus was prorated over four years at $750,000 per season. Due to the post-June 1 designation, only one-year’s worth of bonus will be accelerated to this year’s cap as dead money, meaning the Falcons will only have to carry $1.55 million and save $4.5 million against the 2013 cap. The remainder of the accelerated unpaid bonus ($3.1 million) will count as dead money towards the 2014 cap next year.

With Clabo departing, 2012 third round pick Lamar Holmes and 2010 third round pick Mike Johnson become the most likely candidates to serve as his successor. Johnson took over for an injured Will Svitek last year as the team’s swing tackle and top reserve at the position. Holmes got limited reps after missing part of the off-season with a foot injury.

Clabo first entered the league in 2004 as an undrafted free agent with the Denver Broncos out of Wake Forest. He spent time on the practice squads of the Broncos, New York Giants, and San Diego Chargers as a rookie. When cut by the Broncos at the outset of the 2005 season, he was added to the Falcons practice squad before making the team outright in 2006. That year, he started 10 games predominantly at right guard as an injury replacement for Kynan Forney. The following season in 2007, he started 11 games at right tackle as an injury replacement for Todd Weiner. He would land the full-time starting right tackle gig in 2008 with the arrival of Mike Smith, as Weiner moved to fill in at left tackle. Since 2008, Clabo has not missed a game at the position in five seasons. Dating back to 2007, he has made 91 consecutive starts at the position. In 2010, his performance led to him being voted to the Pro Bowl as an injury replacement.

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Falcons let go of Turner, Robinson, and Abraham

March 1st, 2013 Comments off


Falcons part ways with John Abraham

Adam Schefter of ESPN tweeted early Friday morning that the Falcons are expected to make three bold moves today by releasing running back Michael Turner, cornerback Dunta Robinson, and defensive end John Abraham. The move has since been confirmed by the team’s official site. The move to cut Turner has long been expected after a lackluster 2012 season for the veteran runner. Robinson’s status seemed iffy, although the value of his play on the field didn’t appear to match the value that would be reaped in cap savings if cut loose. Abraham’s future seemed to be a bit less tenuous given he led the team in 2012 with 10 sacks. Per D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC, the Falcons have now saved roughly $16 million in cap space for 2013. Brian McIntyre of puts the cap savings higher, approaching $19 million.

Turner is coming off a year where he led the Falcons in rushing, but only had 800 yards on 222 carries (3.6 avg) and 10 touchdowns. For his career, Turner played five seasons with the Falcons, rushing for 6,081 yards and 60 touchdowns, placing him second all-time on the team’s rushing yards list, and first on rushing touchdowns. Turner was the Falcons first major move of the Dimitroff-Smith Era back in 2008, being signed by the team at the start of free agency. He proved to be the foundation of the Falcons offense for the next three years, but with the continued growth of Matt Ryan and the Falcons passing game began to take a backseat on offense in 2011. That ultimately culminated with a 2012 season where many believed that his backup, Jacquizz Rodgers was the better option in the starting lineup. The Falcons freed up about $6 million in cap space by cutting Turner.

Robinson had a bit of a resurgent year in 2012 after struggling in 2011. But he still had issues in coverage, despite being able to make more plays vs. the run and as a blitzer off the edge. Robinson was signed by the Falcons in 2010 to one of the biggest contracts given to a corner. He was expected to be a No. 1 corner for the team, helping solve the issues that plagued a porous secondary in recent years. But in 2010, Brent Grimes emerged as the team’s de facto top corner, and Robinson had mediocre production. Grimes is now a free agent, and the potential of his return is possibly helped by Robinson’s release. Previous reports indicated that the Falcons would free up roughly $6 million by releasing Robinson, although Ledbetter indicates that number is closer to $4 million.

Abraham first joined the Falcons in 2006, when the team parted ways with their No. 1 pick to acquire him from the New York Jets. His first year in Atlanta was an injury-plagued season where he only played in 8 games. He rebounded the following year, and led the team in sacks both in 2007 (10 sacks) and 2008 (16.5). He had a down 2009 season where he only had 5.5 sacks, but bounced back in 2010 with a 13-sack season, once again being the leader on the team. He has led the team in each of the past two seasons. Over seven years in Atlanta, Abraham has collected a total of 68.5 sacks, which ranks only behind Claude Humphrey on the team’s all-time list. Ledbetter indicates the Falcons freed up nearly $6 million in cap space by cutting Abraham.

It’s possible that the Falcons could re-sign any of the trio back to much cheaper deals. Although one could expect all three players will test the market in order to see where their statuses lie. Given his recent production, it would seem likely Abraham probably stands the best odds to sign a lucrative deal elsewhere. The Falcons have been linked to a number of potential free agents that could be replacements for either.

Rams running back Steven Jackson has been rumored to be on the Falcons radar. Pass rushers like former Colts end Dwight Freeney has also been connected to the Falcons.

Matt Ryan’s new deal will be tied to Flacco

February 18th, 2013 Comments off
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Flacco

I think it’s a foregone conclusion that at some point in the next six or seventh months the Falcons will sign a long-term extension with quarterback Matt Ryan that makes him one of the highest paid signal callers in the NFL.

If the Falcons can get a deal done with Ryan prior to the start of free agency on March 12, it could free up much needed cap space. Ryan is set to count $12 million against the Falcons cap this year. Given the nature of large contracts that are heavily backloaded, it likely means that cap figure will decrease dramatically in the first year of Ryan’s deal. We’re talking about perhaps $6 million the Falcons could reap immediately. Given how tight the Falcons cap situation is, that $6 million could really come in handy when it come to re-signing their own free agents or signing guys from other teams.

Ryan will likely be joined by Super Bowl MVP and impending free agent Joe Flacco of the Baltimore Ravens and Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys in terms of getting brand new contracts this off-season. What is interesting is that Ryan and Romo share the same agent, Tom Condon.

Flacco’s agent Joe Linta made headlines a year ago discussing that he believed his client was then a Top 5 quarterback, which most laughed at. Well a year later now his client is sporting some serious bling, and he certainly has the last laugh. It is now expected that Linta will seek to make his client the highest paid quarterback in the league.

The player who currently holds that title is another Condon client by the name of Drew Brees. Brees signed a five-year deal that averaged $20 million last year with $60 million guaranteed, including $40 million paid at the outset.

When the Falcons drafted Ryan in the final years of the whopping rookie contracts, they gave him a deal that averaged $12 million a year with roughly $35 million guaranteed, then the highest ever given to a quarterback. The following year, No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford got $50 million guaranteed on a deal that average $13 million a year. That was followed up in 2010 by Matt Stafford’s contract that averaged about $12 million and had $42 million guaranteed, but also included an additonal $17 million option bonus paid in the second year which was not technically guaranteed, but about as close as you can get. By the way, Condon also represents both players.

Another Condon client, Peyton Manning signed a five-year deal with the Broncos last March that averaged $19 million per year with guarantees that will reach $60 million assuming Manning doesn’t fail a physical between now and March.

I’m trying to illustrate the landscape in which Ryan comes in for his future contract negotiations. Ryan has more regular season wins than any other quarterback in the last five seasons with 56. In fact, that is the most ever for any quarterback in NFL history in his first five seasons. That is certainly going to be a point that Condon makes during negotiations. Flacco isn’t far behind him with 54 regular season wins, but throw in his 9 postseason wins, it pushes him to 63 total over the past five years, the most in the league.

But Ryan isn’t far behind when you factor in postseason success, tying with Aaron Rodgers for 57 total. That outpaces Brees (56 total), Tom Brady (53), Ben Roethlisberger (53), Eli Manning (52), and Peyton Manning (51). Again, these are going to be key points for Condon in negotiations.

Brees was 33 when he signed his deal, and Manning was 36. Ryan will be 27 or 28 when he signs his deal. His current success coupled with his age that assumes continued success in the future is going to cause Condon to seek deals that exceed those of his two previous clients.

So it all brings us back to the question of whether this will help the Falcons get a deal done with Ryan sooner rather than later in order to reap the immediate cap benefits.

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Don’t Expect a Falcon Off-season Spending Spree

February 5th, 2013 1 comment

Is John Abraham in danger of being cut?

D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC posted the upcoming 2013 salaries for every player under contract, confirming his earlier report that the Falcons salary cap space will be tight. The Falcons are expected to be slightly less than $2 million under next year’s projected $120.6 million salary cap. The Falcons have about $120.2 million collectively due to the top 51 players on their off-season roster, and get to carry over an addition $1.3 million from last season to squeeze in at around $1.7 million under the projected 2013 salary cap.

The salary cap in 2012 was in fact $120.6 million, but there is no expectation for a significant increase for 2013. The Falcons will need to clear some cap space in order to tender a pair of restricted free agents in tight end Michael Palmer and running back Antone Smith. Based on the projected restricted free agent tenders for this year, the Falcons will have to commit to each a minimum tender of $1.323 million if they intend to keep either. That represents the original round tender. Since both Palmer and Smith were undrafted rookies, tendering them at that level would mean that the Falcons would receive no compensation if they were to sign offers with other teams. The Falcons could then have the option of tendering the pair at the second round level, worth $2.023 million. That way, the Falcons would receive a second round pick if either free agent was to sign elsewhere. Cornerback Robert McClain is not a restricted free agent, as Ledbetter’s contract information confirms he is under contract for 2013.

Given the current projections, the Falcons only have enough cap space to tender one of the two. In order to clear more space, the Falcons could renegotiate the contracts of several veteran players, and possibly release a few.

One candidate for release is running back Michael Turner, who per Ledbetter, would create $4.4 million in cap space if released. Defensive end John Abraham is also a potential candidate for release, who Ledbetter indicates could free up $6 million in next year’s cap space. Scott Carasik of Bleacher Report indicates that the Falcons could also save at least $6 million against the 2013 by releasing cornerback Dunta Robinson.

The Falcons are also expected to sign Matt Ryan to a long-term extension this off-season. Ryan carries the team’s biggest cap hit of 2013 at $12 million. That number could reduced as part of a lower first-year salary on a new multi-year deal. Last year, the five-year $100 million contract signed by New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees was able to lower his 2012 cap hit by roughly $6 million. Brees and Ryan are represented by the same agent, Tom Condon.

Other highly-paid veterans that might be asked to re-work their deals are wide receiver Roddy White ($9.125 million 2013 cap hit); guard Justin Blalock ($7.66 million); tackle Tyson Clabo ($6.05 million); cornerback Asante Samuel ($5.7 million); defensive tackles Jonathan Babineaux ($5.2 million) and Peria Jerry ($2.01 million); linebacker Stephen Nicholas ($3.5 million); and kicker Matt Bryant ($2.9625 million).

While these moves could potentially create a significant amount of space for the Falcons, much of that opened space will be used to retain the team’s own free agents. The Falcons are expected to re-sign offensive tackle Sam Baker to a long-term deal, and also will be looking to keep safety William Moore. The team may be forced to place the franchise tag on Moore if they cannot work out a long-term deal before the end of February. The franchise tender for safeties is expected to be around $6.8 million. Based off contracts signed by free agent tackles Eric Winston, Demetress Bell, and Jared Gaither last spring, a multi-year contract with Baker could average between $5 and $7 million annually. Per contract information provided by, their first-year cap hits for that trio’s respective deals averaged about $3 million.

Factoring in tenders for Palmer and Smith, it suggests that the Falcons will need to create roughly $12 million in cap space just to retain those four free agents. Other players that become unrestricted free agents this off-season include: tight end Tony Gonzalez, cornerback Brent Grimes, center Todd McClure, fullback Mike Cox, cornerback Chris Owens, defensive tackle Vance Walker, offensive tackle Will Svitek, guard Garrett Reynolds, quarterback Luke McCown, linebacker Mike Peterson, and defensive Lawrence Sidbury.

Falcons could get salary cap relief from Vick deal

August 31st, 2011 Comments off

The Falcons could receive future salary cap credits from the $6.5 million that former quarterback Michael Vick still owes them according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Such credits are reviewed on a case-by-case basis according to NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, and whether or not the Falcons can get some added cap relief is under review by the league.

Vick signed a six-year $100 million contract with the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday and owes creditors more than $20 million stemming from unpaid debts due to his 2007 incarceration. According to CNBC’s Darren Rovell those debts are expected to be paid in full by 2014 thanks to the money from Vick’s new contract.

In 2009, the Falcons sought to reclaim close to $20 million in bonus money paid to Vick from a previous contract paid in 2004 that exceeded $100 million. But a bankruptcy court ruled that Vick would only owe $6.5 million.

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Falcons are $2.6 million under cap

August 4th, 2011 Comments off

Pro Football Talk reports that the Falcons are $2.6 million under the projected 2011 salary cap of $120.4 million. Teams will be required to have the Top 51 players on their roster fit under the salary cap by the first day of the league year. That day is projected to be tomorrow if the players vote to ratify the new Collective Bargaining Agreement today, as most expect. Ratification will also allow all of the veteran free agents that have signed deals in the past week to also begin practicing.

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Falcons have 2nd highest rookie cap

May 7th, 2008 Comments off

ESPN’s John Clayton reports that the Falcons have the second highest rookie salary cap pool in the league with approximately $7.92 milion. The Falcons will need to find a way to sign all eleven of their draft picks by fitting into that pool. Last season, the Falcons had the same number of picks but had the league’s highest rookie cap.

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