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Strictly business: Time for Falcons' Julio Jones, Grady Jarrett to cash in

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Strictly business: Time for Falcons' Julio Jones, Grady Jarrett to cash in

The Atlanta Falcons still have plenty of business to take care of this offseason, but that doesn't mean they haven't been busy.

They've already parted ways with starting cornerback Robert Alford, reliable kicker Matt Bryant and unheralded defensive end Brooks Reed. Those moves cleared $15.23 million in cap space.

That number is close to the projected $15.3 million the Falcons would need to apply the franchise tag on defensive tackle Grady Jarrett if the two sides don't reach an agreement. The deadline to use the franchise tag is March 5. If the Falcons tag Jarrett, they have until July 15 to sign him to an extension.

The Falcons have between $26 million and $28 million in cap space. That doesn't appear to take into account the signing of offensive lineman Ty Sambrailo to a three-year extension. Sambrailo will count $3.25 million against the 2019 cap.

Former NFL agent Joel Corry, a contract and salary-cap expert, offered some insight into how the Falcons' business might unfold the rest of this offseason.

The Grady factor

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff has often said signing Jarrett to a long-term extension was a priority, although talks with Jarrett's agent, Todd France, were put off during the regular season.

Now the Falcons have room to sign Jarrett.

Jarrett's production, with more than 50 pressures in 2018, warrants making him among the league's highest-paid defensive tackles. Aaron Donald is the highest-paid interior defensive lineman at $22.5 million per year.

"He's not getting Aaron Donald money," Corry said of Jarrett, "but interestingly enough, he has Aaron Donald's agent [Todd France].

"To me, this is more realistic: Todd France also represents Fletcher Cox, and Cox has a three-year-old deal. If you adjust Fletcher Cox's deal to a 2019 cap environment, you're well over $20 million per year. Getting above Cox's actual deal -- $17.1 million per year -- given what I just said wouldn't be unreasonable for Jarrett. It doesn't seem inappropriate."

Cox received $63.3 million guaranteed.

There's no reason to believe the Falcons will allow Jarrett to reach free agency, which begins March 13.

"If you stick him on the open market, then all bets are off because he has some pass-rush ability and can play the run really well," Corry said. "It could be more than [$17.1 million]. That's why you have to franchise him."

What would Jarrett's cap number be in '19 based on an extension? No doubt much lower than it would be under the one-year, $15.3 million franchise tag.

"Probably no more than $5 [million] or $6 million, if they're going to structure it the way they have," Corry said of Jarrett's potential '19 cap figure. "Some of these contracts have the option bonus. If they go that route, they pretty much have a low first-year cap number. But then you're going to have more significant cap numbers and a bunch of proration in the future."

What about Julio?

Dimitroff also promised to address wide receiver Julio Jones' contract concerns this offseason after adjusting his deal to pacify matters last July.

Jones has two years and more than $21 million left on the five-year, $71.25 million extension he signed in August of 2015. He has outplayed his contract and sits 11th among all wide receivers with an average of $14.25 million per year. Odell Beckham Jr. tops the list at $18 million per year.

Beckham also tops all wide receivers with $65 million guaranteed, followed by Tampa Bay's Mike Evans with $55.008 million.

Will Jones become the league's highest-paid receiver this offseason?

"Yeah," Corry said. "I don't know if he'll stay the highest paid, but he will. I don't see any reason why the Falcons wouldn't make the three-year extension average $20 million per year. If you look at what he's done, he's not slowing down. You can't say he hasn't earned that.

"But you've got two young guys who are going to sign deals that will surpass Odell Beckham Jr.: Tyreek Hill and Michael Thomas, assuming they both get done. If Jones goes first, [Hall and Thomas] are going to use his deal to get as close to him as possible. And if he waits until they're done, he'll leapfrog them, at least on an average standpoint but maybe not on a guarantee standpoint."

So Jones and agent Jimmy Sexton would be smart to wait on Hill and Thomas, right?

"Yes and no," Corry said. "If you can get the deal you want, my philosophy is to go ahead and take it knowing that other people were going to use it to better themselves in the marketplace. If you can get what you're asking for, take it."

For now, Jones' cap number for '19 is $13.47 million, third highest on the team behind quarterback Matt Ryan's $22.8 million and cornerback Desmond Trufant's $13.9 million. That number is likely to change with an extension.

"I don't think it goes up; I think it goes down," Corry said. "He's got two years left on his contract. Let's say you chop his base salary down to close to the league minimum. Let's say it's $1.1 million. Then you give him a $20 million signing bonus. You're going to pick up $4.5 million in cap room doing that.

"He takes care of himself. He's what I call a self-contained deal. ... If you have a $20 million signing bonus stretched out over five years, that's $4 million on the cap each year. So right there, instead of having $9 million or whatever his base salary is, you have $4 million proration plus whatever your salary is -- let's say $1.1 million -- just isolating those numbers alone. You've picked up that $4.5 million of cap room."

We'll see if the Falcons indeed reward Jones with a three-year, $60 million extension, which would make his contract essentially a five-year, $81 million deal.

Adding new faces

The Falcons didn't make much of a splash in free agency last season, bringing in special-teams ace Justin Bethel, starting guard Brandon Fusco, defensive tackle Terrell McClain and tight end Logan Paulsen while re-signing guys such as defensive lineman Derrick Shelby and safety Kemal Ishmael.

Those six moves alone accounted for just under $10 million in cap space.

It's unclear if the Falcons have their eyes on landing a top free agent to bolster the offensive or defensive line. Would they part ways with former first-round draft pick Vic Beasley Jr. if they knew they could land one of the elite free-agent pass-rushers? The top guys on the list are DeMarcus Lawrence, Jadeveon Clowney, Brandon Graham, Trey Flowers and Dee Ford, and their current teams could re-sign or franchise them. If the Falcons keep their faith in Beasley, his salary of $12.81 million becomes fully guaranteed March 13.

The Falcons could make other moves to save a little space, such as parting ways with right tackle Ryan Schraeder, who lost his job to Sambrailo at the end of last season. Or they could choose to bring back Schraeder at a reduced salary. His cap number for '19 is $7.75 million. Releasing Schraeder with three years left on his deal would save the Falcons $3.95 million this year, or perhaps $6.45 million if he's designated a post-June 1 cut.

They've also chosen not to make the restricted free-agent tender commitment of $2 million or more to nickelback Brian Poole, who is headed to free agency.

But the Falcons still have decisions to make on a handful of their own free agents, including backup quarterback Matt Schaub, wide receiver Justin Hardy, Bethel and pass-rusher Bruce Irvin. The team seems unlikely to bring back running back Tevin Coleman after signing Devonta Freeman to an extension.

How much cap room would the Falcons need to make some solid additions in free agency?

"Assuming you're not making splash signings, you probably need to clear another $5 million by the start of free agency, assuming Jarrett is on a tag," Corry said. "If he's not on a tag, you're probably going to be all right and don't need to do anything going into free agency."

 

It certainly helped to save the $7.9 million against the cap the Falcons did with the release of Alford.

"To me, it was an either/or proposition with Trufant or Alford, and you chose Alford," Corry said. "You're basically stuck with Trufant because his salary becomes fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the league year. You can't cut him because of the option bonus. There's too much proration. So you basically have to bite it for a year.

"I don't know if that was the main consideration, but from a cap standpoint, it was much easier to get rid of Alford than Trufant."

The Falcons, with the 14th overall pick in the draft, need to have between $5 million and $7 million allocated to their draft picks in terms of salary-cap space.

http://www.espn.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/33998/strictly-business-time-for-falcons-julio-jones-grady-jarrett-to-cash-in

 

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"I mean, it's going to play itself out," Jarrett said of his contract talks. "But at the end of the day, I've got a job to do right now and an obligation to fill through my current situation. Anything that I've been going through has been by plan. Ain't been no frustration my way. But I know when the time comes, I know that I've put in work. And I'm not blind to that. And I'm not settling. That's all I have to say."

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JJ is probably done by TC and after the Draft.

RS might be pre or post-6/1...I’d prefer we wait if possible so as to gain the extra $2.5M in ‘19 for possibly getting someone available then. At the same time, we might could use his immediate cut savings for this FA period before the draft.

Grady should not make more than $17M per on average...but if he somehow gets that he must be structured for our ‘16 class coming due next offseason + the Keanu Neal 5th year option; which hopefully turns into an extension and cap savings.

Julio will help with in house decisions by extending. Modest cap hit increases. Grady is the big one this offseason.

Next year, it’s Debo, Hooper, and in small ways probably Campbell (or he is a casualty worst case)...and of course Neal option vs extension during option year.

Edited by Ergo Proxy
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Looks like one or two players being bigger than the whole team to me. I thought football was a team sport. The ultimate team sport. The FO puts such a high value on consistent production. Then when they get that type of footballer they drool. And the press drools. And fans drool. Julio made us all drool. He still does. Which is great. Especially when it's affordable. But why buy threw a system that logjams you @ QB, WR, CB & Pass Rush??? Again and again?? Meanwhile every year there's another Maurice Hurst or Desmond King or another 5th Round guy that out performs his draft status. The big tackle that came out of NC State last year that got picked up AFTER we picked up Senat! What was his name? We miss on guys regularly. So when we actually hit on a few good ballers we geeked out. And overpay them. That's pretty wack. Over-praising success because it only happens CONSISTENTLY every so often? Dang man even the Steelers have more continuity. Finna lose their top wr and rb but GUESS WHAT? They'd already prepared quality replacements... Wow. Demote Dimitrioff THIS INSTANT.

Edited by Hurry_Up_And_Buy

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Anything over 16 mil for Jarrett and i say let him walk. And noticed this week alot of draft experts are suggesting we do just that. I feel Jarrett had reached his ceiling and cant justify paying team crippling money and not expecting alot more from his production 

The Daywalker and shock like this

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My bad I meant Da'Shawn Hand AND Maurice Hurst. Hand drafted by the Lions outta Alabama in the 4th round was a No-brainer last year. We picked up Senat. Even the Patriots found a guy in the fourth round who's due to start next year! (Bentley) Good solid pick up man. We only have drafts that good every 3-4 years were guys actually stick around and get resigned for competitive yet not bank-breaking cash. GRADY JARRET IS GREAT BUT HE'S NOT IN AN EXCLUSIVE CLASS. If you look hard enough every year you can find a potential starter even in the fourth round. Not just when WE pick up a steal. There are always guy's that fall thru the cracks. Patriots offensive line is full of those kinda guys.

Edited by Hurry_Up_And_Buy
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They need to just let Grady walk. He's good, not that good. Let someone else cripple their team with that contract. The Falcons players are so poor, we over value a player with the first sign of making some plays. I don't mind paying him, but not no where near those numbers.

⚡Slumerican⚡ and shock like this

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13 minutes ago, kiwifalcon said:

Make it happen make the numbers fit and let’s move on.

I mean, the alternative is let Grady walk...draft the best DT at 14...maybe another in round 3 or 4...and get a FA DT budget signing. :shrug:

Doable...but probably a worse version of McClain/Senat rotation last year...unless Ed Oliver came in and was a beast at the 3T; who I actually want at 3T in pass rush at minimum. Grady's 1T snaps gonna go up if we get Oliver...or Oliver plays 5T sometimes.

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8 minutes ago, Ergo Proxy said:

I mean, the alternative is let Grady walk...draft the best DT at 14...maybe another in round 3 or 4...and get a FA DT budget signing. :shrug:

Doable...but probably a worse version of McClain/Senat rotation last year...unless Ed Oliver came in and was a beast at the 3T; who I actually want at 3T in pass rush at minimum. Grady's 1T snaps gonna go up if we get Oliver...or Oliver plays 5T sometimes.

Nah man I’d take Jarrett.

Just make the numbers work.

He will get a Fletcher Cox type deal and call it a day.

Still not to worried to be honest maybe we let another guy walk so be it.

The only thing this re-enforces for me is the ability to continue to draft well then those players who are borderline are easily replaced and we keep replenishing the roster with young talent.

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11 minutes ago, Ergo Proxy said:

I mean, the alternative is let Grady walk...draft the best DT at 14...maybe another in round 3 or 4...and get a FA DT budget signing. :shrug:

Doable...but probably a worse version of McClain/Senat rotation last year...unless Ed Oliver came in and was a beast at the 3T; who I actually want at 3T in pass rush at minimum. Grady's 1T snaps gonna go up if we get Oliver...or Oliver plays 5T sometimes.

Sorry for the double quote but this year I’d be focused on getting Julio and Jarrett done and really having a crack at offensive line early.

Also don’t think Oliver will be the pro Jarrett is.For me I worry about Oliver’s lack of hand usage and his lack of length will get tested at the next level.

Jarrett to me is right on the cusp of being up there in with the best in the league at his position.

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2 hours ago, Hurry_Up_And_Buy said:

My bad I meant Da'Shawn Hand AND Maurice Hurst. Hand drafted by the Lions outta Alabama was a No-brainer last year. We picked up Senat. Even the Patriots found a guy in the fourth round who's due to start next year! (Bentley) Good solid pick up man. We only have drafts that good every 3-4 years were guys actually stick around and get resigned for competitive yet not bank-breaking cash. GRADY JARRET IS GREAT BUT HE'S NOT IN AN EXCLUSIVE CLASS. If you look hard enough every year you can find a potential starter even in the fourth round. Not just when WE pick up a steal. There are always guy's that fall thru the cracks. Patriots offensive line is full of those kinda guys.

You have the worst screen name of all time to be making this argument. 

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Sweet...so a DT & WR averaging 20 million per year.  Whatever, I’m done worrying about CAP.  Pay everyone top dollar and move on.  

Ty set the precedent for the offseason...this is how Loomis buried the Saints for 4 years.  Guess Debo will get 16 mill average...he actually does deserves it.  The impact Julio and Debo have on the game actually justify top of their position money.  I’m not sure I can say the same for Jarret....and I love the dude.  But i have a gut feeling we give him 19 per year

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8 hours ago, TheUsualStuff said:

What would the most succesful franchise in the NFL do in this situation?

That's the question I like to ask.

They would let Jarrett walk and draft a DT and find a scheme fit veteran via FA.  BB stoped paying. d-lineman when he let Wilfork walk.  He pays a premium for secondary and qb.  That’s it

Patriots win with quality depth across the board.  Last year they had 38 players earn over $1,000,000 which was tops in the league by a bunch.  We had 26.  That pattern holds true every single year

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15 minutes ago, Falconsin2012 said:

They would let Jarrett walk and draft a DT and find a scheme fit veteran FA.  BB stoped paying. d-lineman with Wilfork.  He pays a premium for secondary and qb.  That’s it

Patriots win with quality depth across the board.  Last year they had 38 players earn over $1,000,000 which was tops in the league by a bunch.  We had 26.  That pattern holds true every single year

Makes sense, id like to know what the Patriots pay thier scouts.. Almost bet its top of the league, which dosnt come off the cap.. Get the best players at lowest prices and use money in places it dosnt count against you.. Easy enough and yet brilliant at the same time 

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44 minutes ago, Falconsin2012 said:

They would let Jarrett walk and draft a DT and find a scheme fit veteran FA.  BB stoped paying. d-lineman with Wilfork.  He pays a premium for secondary and qb.  That’s it

Patriots win with quality depth across the board.  Last year they had 38 players earn over $1,000,000 which was tops in the league by a bunch.  We had 26.  That pattern holds true every single year

That's true and another brutal truth is any team can do like we've done and "pay the man... pay the man!" and make a one or two year run before settling back down to mediocrity for a few years. Look however to the model of sustained success and you will find something quite different.

I love Grady.. I love Julio... I love Freeman, but sheeshush. When we paid the man Freeman it was a top 5 type contract... Ryan.. top of the model.. Julio... top of the heap money he commands... now Grady. We free agencied our way to one of the most expensive O-lines in the league instead of having a continual flow of drafted young cost-controlled linemen. 

Un-freaking-sustainable. Some others we have are going to command some big money soon. 

I actually have little doubt we can make another SB run in the next year or two, but that run better count because it will be brief. It will also depend on everything going right and no injuries as we will continue to have quality depth issues. I'm all for picking a position or two where you will pony up, but you can't do it everywhere. I want us to pay Grady and Julio and make our run because that is the path we have chosen and we have to see it through... maybe we can get our Lombardi, but I think if we hired Dimi to implement the Patriot model; he has failed miserably in that regard.

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What’s unsustainable about it.

Your making it sound like this is there cap hit every year going foward Jesus Christ.Tell me when the Falcons have been in trouble cap wise in the last decade?

We been paying top dollar to Ryan for 10 years and probably one of very few teams that have.

I swear some of you don’t take into context of raising salary caps people’s contracts and timing of releases good drafts salary structure and what not.You just blindside yourselves into a salary number and slap yourself round the ears with it and moan like this isn’t sustainable lol.

I tell you the way some of you dig yourselves into a mental hole and can’t get past it.

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Ryan is non negotiable... he is both the most important and most difficult piece to replace on the team by FAR. Beyond that, everyone else is replaceable. They need to strategically pick the 3-4 players that they think are most valuable and pay them at the top of market and start letting some of the others walk. Can’t pay near top of market salaries to 10 players at once.

Edited by cyberlian
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6 hours ago, kiwifalcon said:

What’s unsustainable about it.

Your making it sound like this is there cap hit every year going foward Jesus Christ.Tell me when the Falcons have been in trouble cap wise in the last decade?

We been paying top dollar to Ryan for 10 years and probably one of very few teams that have.

I swear some of you don’t take into context of raising salary caps people’s contracts and timing of releases good drafts salary structure and what not.You just blindside yourselves into a salary number and slap yourself round the ears with it and moan like this isn’t sustainable lol.

I tell you the way some of you dig yourselves into a mental hole and can’t get past it.

We just came off a tightly capped year. Remember after our splash signing of ButtaFusco and being down to $1M? We didn't get relief until Lolo's numbers came off the books on June 2. We will be tight this year and if we back load Grady and Julio the way this writer suggests it won't get better in the coming seasons. 

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36 minutes ago, FalconFanSince1970 said:

We just came off a tightly capped year. Remember after our splash signing of ButtaFusco and being down to $1M? We didn't get relief until Lolo's numbers came off the books on June 2. We will be tight this year and if we back load Grady and Julio the way this writer suggests it won't get better in the coming seasons. 

People think you can just pay everyone and not incur roster depreciation.  

For an example that most closely resembles ours, see the Seahawks.  They killed back-to-back drafts and paid top dollar for most of their guys once their rookie deals expired.  Their roster was top heavy and unbalanced.  Could only afford 6 million for their O Line in 2016.  As such they blew it up last year and have gotten back on track.

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