Saints, Falcons feeling cap crunch

Beyond the obvious, there’s another reason why the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints have to hope they don’t encounter many more injuries.

They don’t have enough salary-cap space to add many more players. I just got a look at the latest league-wide cap figures, and the Falcons have the second-smallest amount of cap room available.

San Francisco leads with only $754,618 available. The Falcons are just behind them at $761,498. They are the only two teams with less than $1 million in cap space.

The Saints are only slightly better off than the Falcons. They’re $1.72 million under the cap, and only three teams have less room than them. But the Saints’ situation is complicated because Will Smith and Jonathan Vilma's cap figures are counting fully. If their suspensions are reinstated, the Saints would get substantial cap relief.

If the Falcons or Saints have to make many more roster moves, they’ll have to free up some room by restructuring existing contracts.

The other two NFC South teams are in good cap shape. Carolina is $5.3 million under the cap. Prior to Friday’s signing of offensive lineman Derek Hardman and the release of defensive lineman Wallace Gilberry, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were $13.5 million under the cap.