The Falcons have been forced to make some uncomfortable moves over the past two seasons, trading away both Julio Jones and Matt Ryan in consecutive years. These moves, while unpopular to varying degrees, were made in an attempt to alleviate the cap constraints which have hamstrung this team for many years.
With Ryan now gone, and the team re-signing both Cordarrelle Patterson and Erik Harris, the Falcons are $4.4 million over the cap, per the NFLPA public salary report. OverTheCap lists a similar number, while Spotrac lists the team as $5.2 million over the cap. Needless to say, expect more movement to clear up cap space.
Of all the players to consider, Pro Bowl defensive lineman Grady Jarrett should be atop the list. His contract is set to expire after this season, so either the team will make a move to extend him (restructuring is impossible given final year), or trade him altogether. Trading Jarrett would provide $16.5 million in savings, while an extension would free up $12 million.
Deion Jones, Mike Davis, and Kendall Sheffield also remain as prime candidates to be either traded or cut for space. Davis and Sheffield would bring $5 million in savings combined via a direct release. However, Jones would need to see a trade over a straight cut. A trade for Jones now would only save the Falcons $5.3 million after he was already given his $4.5 million roster bonus a few days ago.
Keep in mind, the team still has to account for the upcoming draft class, and the eventual roster expansion to 53 players. Plus, practice squad when the season rolls around.