The Atlanta Falcons sit in a cap situation that hamstrings their ability to make a ton of moves this offseason, but general manager Thomas Dimitroff dismissed the notion that he's working in salary-cap hell.
"Take this the right way, I was doing my own research on the definition of hell and it's perpetual fire. We are not in an un-ending or perpetual fire (situation)," Dimitroff said recently on 92.9 FM in Atlanta, via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "We are in a situation, as I alluded to earlier, when you spend money on the people that you're spending money on, you're in a situation from year to year ... where every year is the same in the sense of we really look at our players.
"We look at where we are spending our money and we try to decide how we are going to adjust. Sometimes, it takes more creativity in a year where you sign a lot of players to high contracts coming into a year verses another year when things are a little less active and it becomes a little easier to navigate."
The postponed CBA vote is making things a tad trickier for teams like the Falcons, who might be waiting to cut players to free cap room. If the CBA passes a player vote, post-June 1 cuts (which spreads the cap hit over two seasons) would be allowed; if the vote fails, they will not.
The Falcons could also restructure contracts to free limited space, but Dimitroff will never reach the likes of Miami, Indianapolis or Buffalo, who entered with more than $80 million in cap space.
With a top-heavy roster with Matt Ryan ($24 million cap figure), Julio Jones ($20 million), Jake Matthews ($16 million), Desmond Trufant ($15.2 million) and Grady Jarrett ($12 million), Dimitroff understands how his team is built. He'll have to get creative to add pieces, but the cap isn't a complete brick wall.
The little space left is one reason starters Austin Hooper and De'Vondre Campbellwill be allowed to hit free agency this year.
Dimitroff knows he's in a seemingly make-or-break season and must help fill holes for coach Dan Quinn to succeed.
"I feel we are in a really good spot," Dimitroff said. "Meaning that I understand, and Dan understands and so does (president) Rich McKay and (owner) Arthur Blank, where we are with this team. Where we need to continue to grow. How we need to continue to build and where we need to put our money and maybe not put our money.
"So, again, it will take creativity. In no way is it cap hell. We are in a solid situation that is going to continue to get better as we make some tough decisions into this offseason."
How those tough decisions play out during the 2020 season will have a major factor in whether Dimitroff is still calling the shots come next year.