WATCH: NFL's projected 2020 salary cap could help Falcons retain TE Austin Hooper

Dave Holcomb

NFL Insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday evening that the 2020 NFL salary cap will be set somewhere between $196.8 million and $201.2 million. That's up from $188.2 million this season.

According to Rapoport, this projection is a 40 percent increase from where the salary cap was five years ago.

Based on the projections at Spotrac, the Falcons already have active contracts worth in excess of $201 million for next season. If the league's salary cap reaches the bigger end of Rapoport's reported projection, then the Falcons will be very close to the cap. However, it will still take some creative movement for Atlanta to make space for draft picks and free agents.

The Falcons also have tight end Austin Hooper to re-sign. His rookie contract expires at the end of this season, and he is due for a handsome raise considering he made the Pro Bowl last season and is on pace to surpass his 2018 totals despite missing three games because of injury.

In the first half of the season before his injury, Hooper was among the leaders at tight end in every meaningful receiving category.

To keep Hooper, the Falcons will be forced to shave salary cap spending somewhere else. There's no other way around it. But Rapoport's reported cap projection is a sign that it's doable.

Considering how desperate Atlanta's salary cap situation has been the last couple years, that's probably the best news Falcons fans can hope for in regards to the team's chances re-signing Hooper.

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