Cap consequences make Matt Ryan, Julio Jones trades difficult, but not impossible

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Regardless of whether teams are or aren’t wondering about the availability of Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and/or receiver Julio Jones in trade, there should be no wondering about this: The cap consequences for trading either guy would be very significant.

For one of them, however, the a trade is considerably easier. (Or, perhaps more accurately, considerably less difficult.)

Let’s start with Ryan. Trading him would result in a 2021 cap charge of $44.4 million.

For Jones, the cap hit would be much more manageable, relative to Ryan. Still, the Falcons would have to absorb $23.25 million by trading Jones.

Dumping the balance of their 2020 salaries would help. The Falcons would clear $7.24 million in unpaid salary for Jones, dropping the net cap hit in 2021 to $16.01 million.  For Ryan, a 2020 restructuring that reduced his salary to the veteran minimum of $1.05 million means they’d avoid only $679,000 by trading him now.

Throw in the fact that the salary cap possibly will be as low as $175 million next year, the Falcons would have a hard time burning that kind of cap space on guys they won’t have.

That said, because the trades would be happening after June 1, the cap charges would apply next year. Ryan’s cap number for 2021 already will be $40.9 million; thus, trading him would only increases the already expected cap charge by $3.5 million. (It’s still $44.4 million in dead money.)

Jones’ 2021 cap charge in 2021 will be $23.05 million. By trading him now and by not using the cap money realized by his unpaid salary, they could drop that by $7 million. Still, if would result in a $16.01 million dead-money charge.

Though it wouldn’t be easy, they could potentially trade one or the other. It would be very hard to trade both, since that would push the total dead money for not having two key players north of $60 million.

UPDATE 3:06 p.m. ET: In a prior version of this item, I overlooked the fact that post-June 1 trades don’t trigger cap accelerations until the following year. Which was stupid of me. Before the NFL made the post-June 1 cap rule for trades match the post-June 1 cap rule for cuts, the trades couldn’t have happened at all. Even with the cap acceleration landing next year, it won’t be easy to pull off a trade, especially as to Ryan.

9 responses to “Cap consequences make Matt Ryan, Julio Jones trades difficult, but not impossible

  1. The longer you examine their cap position, only Matt Ryan gives them an opportunity to get under the $175m for next year. They will need to extend Julio Jones as well I would guess – and still need to cut players. Their cap is a wreck.

  2. Both will have to have contracts restructured and won’t be moved anywhere. There will be few, if any, trades in off season as so many players will have to earn less than this year. Just going to be a matter of how many high priced vets agree to said cuts voluntarily. If not, it will be involuntary and they’ll be lots of vet minimum deals. Most contracts are structured to increase cap by year, but with cap going down, there will be a big boomerang effect shortly.

  3. Keep the team together. They only needed better coaching. No need to switch coaches AND rebuild. Not needed in Atlanta.

  4. That five year, $150 million deal with $100M guaranteed for Matt Ryan in May 2018 was the nail in the Falcons cap coffin.

    In April 2018, they drafted Calvin Ridley at 26th overall. At the 32nd pick, the Ravens sent the 52nd pick, 125th pick, and a 2019 2nd rounder to the Eagles and selected Lamar Jackson.

    Hindsight, as Cam Newton says, is 50/50. Ridley was not a bad pick, but if they had drafted Lamar Jackson at 26th, or had bundled a few picks to get the 32nd pick from Philadelphia for him…. this current Atlanta team would be much different.

  5. 28-3… it all goes back to 28-3. This organization will never recover from 28-3 until every player on that team is gone. They are forever cursed

  6. Nobody is trading for Matt Ryan anyway, I’m not sure any team looks at him as an upgrade to their present starters. Defensive coordinators have him figured out.

  7. murphyslaw40 says:
    October 20, 2020 at 1:36 pm
    That five year, $150 million deal with $100M guaranteed for Matt Ryan in May 2018 was the nail in the Falcons cap coffin.

    In April 2018, they drafted Calvin Ridley at 26th overall. At the 32nd pick, the Ravens sent the 52nd pick, 125th pick, and a 2019 2nd rounder to the Eagles and selected Lamar Jackson.

    Hindsight, as Cam Newton says, is 50/50. Ridley was not a bad pick, but if they had drafted Lamar Jackson at 26th, or had bundled a few picks to get the 32nd pick from Philadelphia for him…. this current Atlanta team would be much different.

    *************************

    You could say that about alot of teams, look at all the teams that passed on Russell Wilson….TWICE….I’m sure they wish they could get a re-do as well

  8. Nobody is going to trade for Matt Ryan and that contract. They are stuck with that loser.

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