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NFL offseason agendas: Barnwell's to-do lists for all 16 NFC teams


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NFC South



Atlanta Falcons

Work out an extension with Grady Jarrett. The Falcons didn't add anyone more significant than Adrian Clayborn to their disappointing defensive line this offseason, so they're clearly counting on holdovers such as Vic Beasley Jr. and Jarrett to play up to their potential in 2019.

Beasley, entering the final year of his deal, is the definition of a wait-and-see contract candidate, but the Falcons clearly see Jarrett as a cornerstone of their defense. They franchised him this offseason, giving the 26-year-old a raise from $1.9 million to $15.2 million for 2019. Jarrett signed his tender in April, but the Falcons have until July 15 to work on an extension with their defensive tackle.

Jarrett doesn't have the sort of pass-rushing production we've seen from interior disruptors like Aaron Donald, so he can't expect to get that sort of deal. The closest comparison might be someone like Kawann Short, who signed a five-year, $80 million deal after being franchised by the Panthers in 2017. The cap has risen by 12.7 percent since then, so Jarrett might very well ask for five years and a hair over $90 million for his own deal.

Lock up Deion Jones. The Falcons haven't fielded a great defense by advanced metrics over any of the past three regular seasons, but when they have looked good, it's been with Jones on the field. He was a regular in 2016 and 2017 before missing most of 2018 with a foot injury, and the Falcons felt the difference. Over the past three years, they've been competent with Jones on the field and a sieve without him:

Passer Rating 88.0 109.2
Total QBR 57.8 74.2
Yds/Carry 4.4 4.8
Run First Down%   25.0% 28.1%

Re-signing Jones is a must, but the team can't love what happened at middle/inside linebacker this offseason. The top of the market for off-ball linebackers had been at an average annual salary of $12.5 million, but three different players topped that mark. Anthony Barr and Kwon Alexander came in at $13.5 million per year, although Alexander's deal is really a one-year, $14.3 million pact. The Jets then blew up the market by giving C.J. Mosley a five-year, $85 million deal, good for $17 million per season.

Jones might very well ask for a Mosley-sized deal, but it's hard to believe Jones would get that sort of contract in free agency. He just doesn't have Mosley's résumé. More plausibly, Jones could end up somewhere around the old top of the market with a four-year, $54 million deal.

Re-sign Julio Jones. I covered the particulars of a Julio extension in February, and the top of the wideout market hasn't changed. Jones is still likely to come away with a five-year deal between $95 million and $100 million.


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