Atlanta Falcons must move on from Deion Jones

Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

As I’ve stated before, the Atlanta Falcons have officially entered the rebuilding phase during this offseason. However, there is still one more move that has to be made: Deion Jones. How will the Falcons deal with Jones? Well, the answer is hard, yet simple: cut him. As much as I hate to see the best middle linebacker that I have seen put on the red and black uniform go, I know that it must come to an end at some point. And that time is now.  

Why Now?

There has not been a better time to pull the trigger on releasing Jones than in two weeks. On June 2, when the penalty for releasing Jones will be more favorable. His 20-million-dollar cap hit is by far the biggest on the team. Left tackle Jake Matthews has the 2nd biggest hit at 15.1 million dollars.  

Here is why the Falcons should cut Deion Jones after the June 1st period: the dead cap hit. This is a cap hit that teams pay to players that are no longer on the team, but they still carry on that players contract. For example, the Falcons will have to pay Matt Ryan 40.5 million dollars this season, the biggest dead cap hit by any team in NFL history. To prevent this from all being taken in one season, a team can cut a player after June 1st to split the dead cap into this season and next season.  

So, let me break it down. If the Falcons cut Jones today, they would accrue a 20-million-dollar dead cap hit this season. If they decide to release Jones after June 1st, they would only owe Jones 10 million dollars this season, saving themselves an extra ten million dollars this season, then next season they would owe Jones 10 million dollars again. After that, the contract obligations by the Falcons would be filled. This could help the Falcons by giving them extra cap space this season and only paying half of Jones’ contract next season.  

2023 Cap Space

To some fans, the idea of cutting Jones is a big mistake. But this is a situation that the Falcons would be much better off doing since they are entering rebuild mode. The Falcons need all the cap space that they can get for the 2023 offseason. They are slated to be big buyers in free agency in the 2023 offseason.

Let us look at cap space for the 2023 season provided by Spotrac.

The extra 10 million dollars saved next season would leave the Falcons with 40 million dollars in cap space. That’s good enough to move into the top five teams with the most cap space in the NFL. 

Looking towards the future

Jan 2, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Atlanta Falcons inside linebacker Deion Jones (45) prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Although Jones has been a huge contributor, the Falcons have to take this rebuilding process seriously. So this is something that has to be done. We have a young core of linebackers that must learn so that they can be contributors in the future. The offseason additions of veterans Nick Kwiatowski, Rashaan Evans, and Lorenzo Carter, as well as rookie Troy Andersen, will already make for a crowded depth chart for the middle linebacker spot, so releasing Jones makes the most sense. 

I get it, I never thought I would see the day that Jones would leave either, but it is for the future of this team. 

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