The Duel

3 Most Underpaid Players on the Falcons Heading Into 2020

By michael obermuller
Who are the three most underpaid Atlanta Falcons heading into 2020?
Who are the three most underpaid Atlanta Falcons heading into 2020? / Daniel Shirey/Getty Images
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Properly managing an NFL salary cap is a difficult job. The roster now fields 55 players, and general managers are tasked with paying all of those players enough to maintain their happiness, while also keeping the salary cap in check.

To do this, the front office must find value players that can contribute towards winning football each season. The Atlanta Falcons felt the blow of some high-cap injuries the last couple years, and this offseason we saw an attempt to shed some of these players.

To succeed, those guys will need others to step up as these three underpaid Falcons have in the past.

3. Russell Gage, WR (4 yr, $2.616 mill)

Russell Gage caught 66.2 percent of passes last season.
Russell Gage caught 66.2 percent of passes last season. / Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Making next to nothing ($654,049 per season) compared to other NFL receivers, Russell Gage stepped up after the Mohamed Sanu trade to take over the slot receiver role in Atlanta. Quickly becoming a favorite target of Matt Ryan, the former 6th rounder finished with 49 catches for 446 yards and one touchdown (most of which came in the second half when the Falcons were winning). Keep in mind that these numbers represent a partial season of playing time. Gage is the front-runner for the slot in 2020, and if he can secure it, look for him to have a solid season playing behind Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones (who require a lot of attention).

2. Calvin Ridley, WR (4 yr, 10.9 mill)

Calvin Ridley paired with Julio Jones could be scary long-term, but first Atlanta would have to pay him.
Calvin Ridley paired with Julio Jones could be scary long-term, but first Atlanta would have to pay him. / Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

I know that looks like a big number above, but when you break it down into a season cap hit (approximately $2.725 million) and factor in Calvin Ridley's value to this franchise, it's a steal. The 2018 first-round draft pick has already surpassed 800 receiving yards in his first two seasons, and if not for injuries in 2019, he probably would have hit 1,000 in 2019. Now a true starter alongside Julio Jones, Ridley was graded out as a 74.9 on Pro Football Focus last year. He also had 17 receiving touchdowns in his first two seasons and averaged 66.6 receiving yards per game in 2019. A budding NFL star, Ridley will no doubt be in line for a big extension sometime soon, but for now, he's a great value.

1. Damontae Kazee, CB/DB (4 yrs, 2.689 mill)

Damontae Kazee could use a raise after the way Atlanta has leaned on him in recent seasons.
Damontae Kazee could use a raise after the way Atlanta has leaned on him in recent seasons. / Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

From fifth-round draft pick to consistent starter in the Falcons secondary, Damontae Kazee has made a huge leap in his first three NFL seasons. A sort of hybrid defensive back, Kazee can play nickel corner or safety when needed, and Atlanta has needed him plenty in recent years due to various injuries to other players. The 27-year-old cornerback started 29 out of the Falcons 32 games in 2018 and '19, intercepting an incredible 10 passes (seven in 2018) during that time. He also amounted 156 total tackles and was vital towards holding this defense together amidst the missing bodies. Kazee is currently making $672,231 per year and ranks here as currently the most underpaid Atlanta Falcon.


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Michael Obermuller is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Michael Obermuller also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username king_mizzard. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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