Updated: Falcons Short on Cap Space, $5.7 (or $7.3) Million Under

ProFootballTalk.com has reported that the Falcons have only $5.8 million to spend to stay underneath the $120.6 million cap. There is a little debate as to exactly how PFT has calculated this number and whether or not this is a “guesstimate” with some contract numbers unknown. PFT is quiet on how the number is measured, potentially because they are not calculating the cap, but are simply reporting cap numbers thanks to a league source.

If true, the Falcons are out of the running for any top free agent as of this time. No Mario Williams, Carl Nicks or Ben Grubbs, but likely small name players who will work at limited reps.

Atlanta still has time to cut high priced players like Michael Turner, Ovie Mughelli, and hopefully Sam Baker. They may have not been cut yet if the front office is attempting to bring them back at significantly less money, as I believe they are all on the last year of their contracts and therefore cannot shift around money through bonuses.

If Dimitroff wants to make a run at a big name free agent, he will continue restructuring contracts of certain players to drop their cap number, similar to what the Lions are doing today and what Atlanta did with Dunta Robinson on Friday.

It should be mentioned that ESPN believed Atlanta to be “a good bit under the cap” prior to Dunta restructuring, and the Saints beat reporter is showing the Saints have a few million more than PFT reported.

Update: D. Orlando Ledbetter is saying the Falcons have $5.7 million in cap space, suggesting the PFT report of $5.8 million is at least very close.  He specifically says this takes Atlanta out of the “Mario Williams derby.”  If Atlanta plans on being active in free agency they will have to make some moves today.

Update 2: Ledbetter has our free space down to the dollar amount at $5,723,709.00.

Update 3: Ledbetter says the numbers are from the “salary report from the league.”  

Update 4: So each team receives $1.6 million from Washington and Dallas for pushing huge cap hits to the uncapped year in 2010, according to Adam Schefter.  If I interpret this correctly, as adding to cap space to this year, Atlanta may have $7.3 million in cap space.  I have never heard of such a thing before and fully expect to see some appeals, if the NFL has not yet heard them… but WOW.

Similar to the cap credits we (should sometime) receive from Michael Vick, the extra cash should come at the time we receive it.  It is not clear if we receive actual cash or just extra space, or both.  Left with plenty of questions at this time.

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