Why the Falcons aren't chasing Revis

In last Friday’s NFC South chat, I had several Atlanta fans ask why the Falcons aren’t making a play for Darrelle Revis.

On the surface, there’s some logic behind their pleas. The Falcons are a team that appears to be on the cusp of a Super Bowl and their only glaring need is at cornerback. Revis, when healthy, might be the best cornerback in the NFL and the Jets certainly appear to be willing to trade him.

But there’s one huge obstacle that makes it pretty much a certainty the Falcons won’t enter the Revis sweepstakes (the Tampa Bay Buccaneers might be the only team in the league that has legitimate interest in Revis). That’s the salary cap.

At the moment, the Falcons are only $2 million under this year’s salary cap. That’s not even enough to sign their draft picks. They will get some relief June 1, when the hit for released offensive tackle Tyson Clabo gets divided over this year and next.

But it goes much deeper than that. Revis wants a long-term contract that will pay him about $15 million a year. The Falcons are expected to give quarterback Matt Ryan a long-term contract extension that will average somewhere around $20 million sometime this offseason.

Even if the Ryan extension is structured to free up cap room this year, there are long-term implications to think about. Ryan’s cap hits would start getting above $15 million starting in 2014. No matter how a deal for Revis is structured, his cap hits would be above $10 million before long.

The Falcons have some other highly paid players. They can afford one huge new contract. That money already is earmarked for Ryan. There’s no room to add Revis.

The Falcons will address their cornerback situation, but that will have to be done with a reasonably priced free agent or a draft pick.