The Atlanta Falcons restructured two contracts Wednesday to free up salary-cap space, which would create more breathing room for the team to absorb a Julio Jones extension while having space for signings throughout the season.
The Falcons converted the base salaries of free safety Ricardo Allen and left tackle Jake Matthews into signing bonuses to create $5 million in cap space, a source told ESPN's Field Yates. The team converted $4.375 million of Matthews' $6.5 million base salary and $2.25 million of Allen's $3.5 million base salary.
The NFL Network was the first to report the restructured deals.
The Falcons had about $3.5 million in cap space before kicker Matt Bryant re-signed on a one-year deal reportedly worth $3 million. Now they've created a little more wiggle room for the possibility that Jones' 2019 cap figure of $13,466,666 doesn't become lower, as can be typical when a player signs an extension.
Jones has two years and more than $21 million left on his current deal.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank remains optimistic that a deal for Jones deal is imminent, as there is a sense of urgency to get it done before Sunday's season opener against the Minnesota Vikings.
"I think [Jones] knows what our intentions are, whether it be from me, or the coach, or from Thomas,'' Blank told ESPN in a recent interview. "He understands that these are not words to us. This is a serious commitment that we've made, and we want to continue to make. And we understand how important he is to the team. He understands how important he is to the team.
"We understand we have to balance what is fair and respectful to him, and what's also fair and respectful to the rest of the roster. Obviously, we have other needs, too. That's what makes it all complicated. But we're making good progress."