Atlanta Falcons: Retaining Vic Beasley Was the Wrong Move

Atlanta Falcons, Vic Beasley, Jr. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Atlanta Falcons, Vic Beasley, Jr. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) /
3 of 3
Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons, Vic Beasley (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

Ramifications for the Atlanta Falcons

Vic Beasley counting 12.8 million dollars could have huge cap ramifications for the team. Ryan Schraeder seems to be the most in danger of being released after losing his starting job to Ty Sambrailo, who the team just recently resigned to a three-year deal. Should Schrader be released with a post June 1 designation, he will only count for 1.3 million in dead money against Atlanta’s cap number. This would give the Falcons nearly 6.5 million in cap relief. That’s a move Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff should strongly consider.

Now that Beasley will be back, resigning star defensive tackle Grady Jarrett to a long-term deal with a friendly cap number for this season has become paramount. If the team is forced to franchise tag Jarrett, it will cost them nearly 16 million dollars against the salary cap. That’s another huge chunk of space that would possibly cripple the team from making improvements in free agency this year. It would certainly prevent them from having the maximum salary cap space possible.

Retaining Vic Beasley could also affect the status of wide receiver Mohamed Sanu. Very similar to Ryan Schraeder, Sanu can be released designated for June 1 and the Atlanta Falcons would only incur 1.4 million dollars in dead salary cap money. This would save the franchise 6.2 million towards the cap. With that being said Sanu is still a very productive player. Sure the emergence of first round draft pick Calvin Ridley has made the Atlanta Falcons deeper and more talent at the position, but in this modern passing oriented NFL, a team’s third wide receiver is certainly a starter.

In addition to producing 838 yards and four touchdowns, Sanu was also the team’s best short yardage rushing option in the wildcat formation. He ran for five first downs in seven attempts. Two of those runs went for more than 20 yards. The Atlanta Falcons should do all that they can to keep Sanu for the upcoming season. Releasing him would just open up another hole. A hole that could prove difficult to fill.

To put things in perspective Vic Beasley currently has the fourth highest cap number of any Atlanta Falcons player. He counts about 700,000 less than superstar wide receiver Julio Jones. That’s absurd for a player who ranked number 103 in the NFL, among qualified edge rushers. That was dead last in the entire NFL.

Letting Vic Beasley walk would have been the best move for the Atlanta Falcons from a financial standpoint. The team should have instead made it a priority to resign Bruce Irvin, as well as made pass rusher a priority in the upcoming draft. Clelin Ferrell from Clemson is one good candidate that could be available for the Dirty Birds at Pick 14. I provided a break of his game here on Atl All Day that can be viewed here.

There are also many good candidates Atlanta can draft in the middle rounds to bolster the pass rush. D’Andre Walker a local product from UGA certainly has the skill and temperate that would make him a wonderful fit with the brotherhood. The Falcons should strongly consider drafting him in round two.

Next. Five Moves For Braves to Make Before Opening Day. dark

I understand that it would have been difficult for Dan Quinn to move on from the first draft selection made in his time here in Atlanta. I will admit that paying 12.8 to Vic Beasley for one season is a better option than signing him to a long-term deal that he hasn’t earned. Such a deal would have provided temporary cap relief, but could have possibly left the franchise stuck with an unproductive player long-term.

So in my opinion the franchise made its first mistake of the offseason. Vic Beasley is going to be here this season. As a Falcons fan, all one can do is hope Beasley plays well enough to earn his salary, and that the Falcons will add productive players at a low-cost. This will keep that contract from affecting depth in other areas.

For more grades, advanced statistics and more at Pro Football Focus, subscribe to PFF’s EDGE or ELITE subscriptions at