Who Should Make a Move? A Look at Salary Cap Space Around the League

As team after team restructures veteran contracts to create much-needed cap relief ahead of the 2022 regular season, it sometimes feels like no one is in a position to make a real league-shaking transaction. That isn't so. A handful of teams have room to spare, and some of them should even be motivated to put themselves over the top in pursuit of postseason glory. ESPN's Field Yates shared an up-to-date list of cap space around the league today:
Topping the list are the Cleveland Browns. Admittedly, they're in a bit of a holding pattern due to quarterback Deshaun Watson's suspension; their season could already be over before he takes the field. On the other hand, should backup Jacoby Brissett successfully steer the team through the early portion of the season, the Browns could be motivated to make a big splash before the trade deadline to round out their roster and make a playoff push once Watson returns. A wide receiver to complement recently acquired Amari Cooper could make sense.
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Right after the Browns are the Las Vegas Raiders, and they should be absolutely itching to get something done. Already a leader this season in splash moves after trading for All-Pro wide receiver Davante Adams and signing edge rusher Chandler Jones, the Raiders are perfectly positioned to get aggressive once again under new head coach Josh McDaniels. This team will have to be good fast if it wants to compete in the brutal AFC West against the likes of the Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, and Denver Broncos. The Raiders are also a great candidate to make a move because they could use help just about everywhere. The defensive backfield and the offensive line could both use some extra talent, or the team could even consider handing tight end Darren Waller his much-coveted extension.

At the absolute bottom of the list in both cap space and reason to use it are the Atlanta Falcons. After trading away former MVP quarterback Matt Ryan, the team is in a total rebuild with little expectation of competing this year. They're paying for past sins with dead money accounting for nearly $65 million of the $208.2 million cap. Let that be a lesson: all these contract restructures you hear about come at a cost. The bill comes due eventually.

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