8/26/17 - Atlanta, GA - General Manager Thomas Dimitroff. The first game in Mercedes-Benz Stadium was Saturday, as the Atlanta Falcons played Arizona in an exhibition game.. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM
Photo: Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com
Photo: Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com

Falcons’ official salary cap number is $178.3 million 

The Falcons will have $178,321,399 for the salary cap in 2018, counting their carryover money. The official salary number was released by the NFLPA on Tuesday. The salary cap was set at $177.2 million.

The Falcons made two moves to save $7 million under the cap by releasing tight end Levine Toilolo and defensive end Derrick Shelby last week.

The Falcons are currently negotiating a contract extension with quarterback Matt Ryan. Kicker Matt Bryant was signed to a three-year, $10.5 million contract on Tuesday before he reached free agency. 

Currently, the Falcons’ top 51 contracts total $163,507,634 and they have $14,813,765 million under the salary cap.  Free agency is set to start on March 14. Teams can talk to agents on March 12. 

Granting Ryan an extension could lower his salary cap number from $21.6 million to between $9 million to $12 million depending on the structure of his deal, according to CBS sports business analyst Joel Corry, a former NFL agent. 

Ryan and Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers could be waiting for the Kirk Cousins’ derby to be complete. With several quarterback-starved teams expected to bid for his services, Cousins, who’s never won a playoff game, could re-set the market at the positions. The Falcons are expected to re-negotiate guard Andy Levitre’s contract to lower his $8.3 million cap number.

Another salary cap casualty candidate is defensive end Brooks Reed. By cutting Reed the Falcons could save $3.6 million.  

Other cap casualty candidates include quarterback Matt Schaub ($3.25 million) and wide receiver Mohamed Sanu ($3.1 million).

The Falcons have also talked to the Seahawks about trading for defensive end/tackle Michael Bennett, who is scheduled to make $8.3 million in 2018 with a $5 million roster bonus.