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Falcons Get Extra Salary Cap Space From NFL's Punishment Of Cowboys, Redskins

The Atlanta Falcons will get a little bit of a salary cap bump after all. Adam Schefter reports the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins will be penalized $10 million and $36 million in cap space respectively for front-loading their contracts during the 2011 uncapped year, with $1.6 million worth of extra cap space going to every team besides the Oakland Raiders and New Orleans Saints.

So, that's right -- the Falcons get some cap breathing room, the Saints get none, and two other NFC teams take major hits. Pretty OK news all around, even if it is really strange.

Because of the collective bargaining agreement, the total NFL salary cap has to hit a certain number. If some teams are unable to spend to that amount, others will be able to. So that's why other teams are getting room to spend more money here. No clue what the Raiders and Saints may have done, though.

For a while now it's been looking like the Falcons will have to cut several players to be able to do any damage in free agency. While this doesn't really change things all that much, it might mean the difference between keeping, say, Harry Douglas or not. So, great stuff!

Apparently NFL teams were warned, though perhaps subtly, against front-loading their deals for the 2011 season. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said his team would treat 2011 as if it were a capped year, just in case the NFL decided to punish teams that got creative. Let's be glad the Falcons did the same.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.