3 Atlanta Falcons players to cut to create cap room for the 2024 NFL offseason

One more offseason might do the trick to transform the Atlanta Falcons into serious contenders.

Taylor Heinicke, Atlanta Falcons
Taylor Heinicke, Atlanta Falcons / Justin Casterline/GettyImages
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I have to be honest. The Atlanta Falcons don't need to do much when it comes to creating cap space ahead of free agency. Right now, the Falcons have nearly $30 million in available space. This puts them with the 14th most space in the league, well above the league average with approaching $18 million. Of course, they still need to find a long-term answer at quarterback to push for the playoffs...

Where things stand now, their four biggest cap hits are among easily the 10 best players they have. While getting left tackle Jake Matthews to agree to a restructure would be great, as would defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, next up are their two best players in guard Chris Lindstrom and safety Jessie Bates III. Keep in mind none of Terry Fontenot's picks are up for a contract extension at this moment.

But again, you want to trim the fat a bit, especially with a new coaching staff coming in. Even though Raheem Morris is in his first year as the full-time head coach, team leaders like Jarrett, Lindstrom, Matthews and cornerback A.J. Terrell have all played for him before. As it looks right this instant, Atlanta has the cap space already to pursue at least one major piece or two in NFL free agency.

If the Falcons were to have any cap casualties this NFL offseason, my money is on these three guys.

3 Atlanta Falcons to cut to make some more cap room for 2024 offseason

3. Mike Hughes would free up well over $3 million in available cap space

Admittedly, there are not a lot of candidates who would make sense to release at this point from the Atlanta roster. I came down to cornerback Mike Hughes and the $3.845 million that are on the books for 2024. If he were to be released, Atlanta would save all but his $750K signing bonus, so just a shade over $3 million. Hughes is a former first-round pick, but has never stuck anywhere in the NFL.

The Falcons were his fourth team after being drafted by the Minnesota Vikings out of UCF in 2018. While I wouldn't say that his contract coming off the books would make a huge difference, I am not sure he is the team's No. 2 cornerback going forward behind A.J. Terrell. With a new coaching staff coming in, I would expect for Raheem Morris to revamp his defense just a bit on the back-end of it.

I would venture to guess that Atlanta would rather pay a slight premium to get Super Bowl champion cornerback L'Jarius Sneed in his free agency rather than sift around for something potentially good the Falcons may have found in the bargain bin with Hughes. This is nothing personal, but ripping Sneed away from the Chiefs and into the Falcons' secondary is something we should all be in favor of.

Atlanta is going to create more space than what it has now, and this is a way to recoup a few million.