According to a report from Field Yates, the Atlanta Falcons have restructured the contract of linebacker Deion Jones.
“Falcons converted $8.5M of LB Deion Jones’ salary into a bonus (with 3 void years added) for $6.8M,” wrote Yates on Twitter. “Jones get his salary payout sooner as part of the deal.”
The move comes as a surprise, because it frees up roughly $6.5 million in cap space for this season, but it more than doubles Jones’ dead-cap number in 2023 from $5 million to $12 million according to OverTheCap.
The move indicates the Falcons will try and add to the roster this season, or at the very least offer a player (Chris Lindstrom?) an extension.
With roughly $9.5 million in available cap space, the Falcons could roll that money into 2023 if they don’t add to their salary this season… an option foreign to most Falcons fans who are used to watching Atlanta have to slash salary simply to get UNDER the cap.
Atlanta would have liked to have found a trade partner for Jones in the offseason to take some of his $14-million salary (base and roster bonus), but he has started the season on injured reserve and was an average player at best for the Falcons in 2022.
Waiving him wasn’t an option, because his $24-million dead-cap hit would have actually cost the Falcons $4 million in cap room.
The logical assumption was the Falcons would move on from him next year when his dead cap number dropped to just $5 million, a fraction of the $64 million they have this season with dead money tied to Matt Ryan and Julio Jones.
The restructure ups his dead-cap number to $12 million next season. For a team looking to maximize available payroll in 2023, this move goes against that plan.
Atlanta still clears $8 million in salary cap room if they cut Jones next season, but before the restructure, that number was $15 million.
Like I said, on the surface, this move doesn’t make a lot of sense. It’s a signal that there are more moves coming with the available cap space cleared for 2022.
So stay tuned.