Goober Pyle

What Grady Jarrett’s four-year, $68 million deal means for the Falcons

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https://theathletic.com/1078013/2019/07/15/what-grady-jarretts-four-year-68-million-deal-means-for-the-falcons/

 

When Arthur Blank calls someone a Falcon for life, he will likely wind up with a long-term contract. 

While the Falcons and Grady Jarrett’s representation were far apart regarding a contract extension for the majority of the offseason, the two sides reached an agreement Monday to keep the star defensive tackle in town for quite a while longer.

With an hour and 10 minutes to go before the NFL’s 4 p.m. deadline to extend players with the franchise tag, a source confirmed to The Athletic that Jarrett agreed to a four-year contract worth $68 million. The figure was first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter. 

While general manager Thomas Dimitroff deserves a great deal of credit for finalizing Jarrett’s contract, this deal also appears to have Blank’s fingerprints all over it. The sheer fact that Blank went out of his way in multiple interviews to say Jarrett would remain with the franchise shows just how much he wanted to keep the star defender with the organization for years to come. He made similar remarks about running back Devonta Freeman, who earned a lucrative contract after the 2016 season. This offseason, Blank also called Julio Jones a “Falcon for life,” with Jones recently calling Blank’s word about a new extension “golden” in a recent interview with TMZ Sports.

There wasn’t reason to doubt that a new deal with Jones would eventually be reached. 

Point is, if Blank believes a player should remain with the team, he’ll allow his front office to do what it takes to make it happen. With an average of $17 million per season, Jarrett will now earn the third most annually at his position. Only Aaron Donald ($22 million per season) and Fletcher Cox ($17.1 million) are making more. 

This deal also eliminates what could have potentially been a distraction for the franchise. If Jarrett was not signed to a long-term deal, the Falcons would have been forced to continue talks after the conclusion of the 2019 season. And even then, Jarrett’s future would have been a prominent storyline, especially if he puts together another quality season. 

For Jarrett, this contract provides the needed security that elite NFL players covet. If Jarrett played under the $15.2 million franchise tag number, there would have been no salary guarantee for the following year. And if Jarrett didn’t perform up to expectation, or if a late-season injury occurred, the Falcons could then have let him walk. In that hypothetical worst-case scenario, Jarrett could have potentially earned less money on the open market. By getting a deal done, Jarrett is in the Falcons’ plans for the foreseeable future. If he suffers a major injury in 2019, he has a sizable contract to fall back on.

And, in a best-case hypothetical scenario, if Jarrett’s play continues to progress upward, the opportunity for a bigger extension after year two or three exists, too. 

The deal is a nice reward for a player who has greatly outperformed his rookie contract. As a former fifth-round selection, Jarrett earned $3.7 million over four years. He will now make over 18 times that during the span of his new contract. 

This was something both the Falcons and Jarrett’s representation needed to get done. While it took some time, Jarrett can now breathe a sigh of relief and focus his attention on the upcoming season. 

Jarrett is the catalyst up front for an Atlanta defensive line that will be looking to improve upon its numbers from last season. During his time with the Falcons, Jarrett has compiled 179 tackles and 14 sacks. In 2018, he recorded a career-best six sacks. 

Now that the deal is done

With Jarrett’s contract out of the way, the Falcons will turn their attention to getting both of the Joneses taken care of.

Julio Jones is expected to earn northward of $20 million per year and be the highest-paid receiver in the NFL — at least for the short term. The Falcons budgeted this particular extension for Jones in 2019 and there isn’t anything to suggest it won’t get done. That stated, the fact that a deal hasn’t been reached with Jones is interesting, considering neither side appears to be in a bad spot. Conversations have remained ongoing and there haven’t been any leaks suggesting a stall. 

If the Falcons can lock up Jones in addition to Jarrett, then the Falcons will be in a much better spot when it comes to the salary cap. Before Monday’s news, the Falcons had $6.7 million in cap space. Once the details of Jarrett’s deal are revealed, the cap hit should be less — perhaps significantly less — than the $15.2 million figure the organization was otherwise expected to take. And then if a deal with Jones is reached, that number should also move southward from the $13.5 million figure attached to his name right now. 

If the Falcons can free up a number between $13-15 million in 2019 with these two contracts, it will allow them to possibly go get another veteran contributor — perhaps even Allen Bailey, who remains a free agent and in whom Atlanta expressed interest earlier this offseason. Regardless, it does looks like the franchise has positioned itself to be in win-now mode in 2019, with the chance of adding another piece to the puzzle if the opportunity presents itself. 

In addition, the Falcons will also need to secure linebacker Deion Jones for the long term. He is entering the final year of his rookie contract. As a second-rounder, there is no fifth-year option the team can apply for him. Securing his football future in Atlanta, considering his value to the franchise, is also key.

While the team can celebrate locking Jarrett up, there won’t be much rest taking place in the coming weeks.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Goober Pyle said:

Conversations have remained ongoing and there haven’t been any leaks suggesting a stall. 

I think this is the most interesting. Think about how often we hear inside rumblings about other teams' contract negotiations, yet you never hear anything from the Falcons. 

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15 minutes ago, vel said:

I think this is the most interesting. Think about how often we hear inside rumblings about other teams' contract negotiations, yet you never hear anything from the Falcons. 

Just like what happened recently with Kawhi. He signed with the team with no leaks, while all reports were saying the team with a ton of leaks(Lakers) were a shoo in.

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Posted (edited)

29 minutes ago, vel said:

I think this is the most interesting. Think about how often we hear inside rumblings about other teams' contract negotiations, yet you never hear anything from the Falcons. 

they let TATF take care of that... 

Edited by slickgadawg
vel, Flying Falcon, Chaz and 2 others like this

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I really don't think Bailey is coming.   Just think the Grady deal done and the Julio deal, when complete - will provide the money to re-sign Deion Jones.

Allen Bailey is a 2nd/3rd tier defensive end and he certainly doesn't warrant some type of overall cap strategy to get him signed.  Bailey has averaged less than 2.5 sacks in his career and is coming off a career number of 6 sacks.    Hardly high cotton.

Falcons have made bets before with guys like this and none of them have ever come up aces.

Maybe we sign Bailey, maybe we don't but he is an ancillary target - think about it - Bailey is just sitting there and no other of the 31 NFL teams is moving mountains to get him either.

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51 minutes ago, g-dawg said:

I really don't think Bailey is coming.   Just think the Grady deal done and the Julio deal, when complete - will provide the money to re-sign Deion Jones.

Allen Bailey is a 2nd/3rd tier defensive end and he certainly doesn't warrant some type of overall cap strategy to get him signed.  Bailey has averaged less than 2.5 sacks in his career and is coming off a career number of 6 sacks.    Hardly high cotton.

Falcons have made bets before with guys like this and none of them have ever come up aces.

Maybe we sign Bailey, maybe we don't but he is an ancillary target - think about it - Bailey is just sitting there and no other of the 31 NFL teams is moving mountains to get him either.

That's always a bad way to look at things. Plenty of good players "just sitting there". I doubt anybody would be pissed if they went and signed Eric Berry, for example, and he's just sitting there. 

But if they sign Bailey, I'd be for it. The guy is a massive, physical presence on the interior. He'd have to come cheap though. 

Falconole11 and Marco102 like this

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7 hours ago, Goober Pyle said:

perhaps even Allen Bailey, who remains a free agent and in whom Atlanta expressed interest earlier this offseason.

Yes please.

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7 hours ago, g-dawg said:

I really don't think Bailey is coming.   Just think the Grady deal done and the Julio deal, when complete - will provide the money to re-sign Deion Jones.

Allen Bailey is a 2nd/3rd tier defensive end and he certainly doesn't warrant some type of overall cap strategy to get him signed.  Bailey has averaged less than 2.5 sacks in his career and is coming off a career number of 6 sacks.    Hardly high cotton.

Falcons have made bets before with guys like this and none of them have ever come up aces.

Maybe we sign Bailey, maybe we don't but he is an ancillary target - think about it - Bailey is just sitting there and no other of the 31 NFL teams is moving mountains to get him either.

 

6 hours ago, vel said:

That's always a bad way to look at things. Plenty of good players "just sitting there". I doubt anybody would be pissed if they went and signed Eric Berry, for example, and he's just sitting there. 

But if they sign Bailey, I'd be for it. The guy is a massive, physical presence on the interior. He'd have to come cheap though. 

I agree with both of these posts.

The longer Bailey is out there the cheaper he gets.

Getting Julio done frees up a bunch of cash to get Debo done long term both are good options for the team.

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Another cool thing about Grady being so young and the length of this contract - he can still be motivated for one more big contract since he will be a free agent at age 30.

I realize Grady doesn’t struggle with motivation but still....another contract to shoot for.

Chaz likes this

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9 minutes ago, g-dawg said:

Another cool thing about Grady being so young and the length of this contract - he can still be motivated for one more big contract since he will be a free agent at age 30.

I realize Grady doesn’t struggle with motivation but still....another contract to shoot for.

It’s a win Dawg they’ve seen him as an important building piece for the team him and those worthy will get there’s and as long as the Falcons keep drafting well the window stays open.

g-dawg likes this

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3 hours ago, g-dawg said:

Another cool thing about Grady being so young and the length of this contract - he can still be motivated for one more big contract since he will be a free agent at age 30.

I realize Grady doesn’t struggle with motivation but still....another contract to shoot for.

And it’s essentially a 3 year contract.  It’s a win-win

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Well deserved pay day. Did not expect to get it done and had accepted this would be the last year we got to see the kid play in Atlanta. Thrilled that we now get to see him in his peak. He is still young and only getting better. Would not be shocked if he was a 10 sack DT this year.

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What it really means is people should stop worrying about who stays and who goes and where our cap space is at any given moment in time.  We can argue about personnel decisions all day long but cap management hasn't been and won't be a problem under TD...

Sportsman2593 likes this

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1 hour ago, PriMeTiiMe said:

Well deserved pay day. Did not expect to get it done and had accepted this would be the last year we got to see the kid play in Atlanta. Thrilled that we now get to see him in his peak. He is still young and only getting better. Would not be shocked if he was a 10 sack DT this year.

Question:  Why did you not expect it to get done?  You are not alone.

I am not saying I was 100% sure it would happen as I wasn’t positive Grady’s camp was being reasonable  

BUT, we knew from TD that Grady was #1 priority and we knew Arthur, The Godfather, said “Falcon 4 Life”

I was somewhat confident a deal could be struck.  These things usually go down to deadline. Given Falcons running out of room with so many people to pay, every deal from now on must be negotiated hard before coming to agreement and striking a deal.

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