The Atlanta Falcons took it to the wire but got the deal done with Grady Jarrett, keeping the defensive tackle in Georgia for another four years and stopping the Clemson product playing 2019 under the franchise tag.
Ultimately Jarrett goes from a one-year, $15.2M franchise tag to a four year $68M contract, with $42.5M in guarantees, giving Jarrett security and an extra $1.8M this year. That makes him the third highest paid interior defensive lineman in the league, behind Aaron Donald and Fletcher Cox.
The Falcons struggled on defence last, ranking bottom eight in the league for total yards allowed, passing yards, rushing yards and points allowed. That being said, Jarrett is crucial to the defence, especially after Atlanta didn’t put a focus on addressing their defence in the offseason. Jarrett is the key man on the defensive line for the Falcons – PFF ranked him fifth best interior lineman in the league in 2018 – with Tak McKinley and Vic Beasley struggling to live up to their potential and the team relying on journeymen like Jack Crawford and Adrian Clayborn for any sort of DL depth.
After an average rookie season with 24 tackles, Jarrett has 155 total tackles, 143 pressures and 13 sacks over the last three years as well as three forced fumbles in 2018. Creating pressure up the middle is key to defensive production, particularly as the Falcons lack potency off the edge and Jarrett has proven that he can get in the backfield and disrupt the pocket on a regular basis.
The signing of Jarrett does have cap implications though, they were already relatively tight up against the cap before signing Jarrett over the next two seasons and this won’t make deals for Julio Jones, Vic Beasley or Alex Mack any easier. That being said, it was Jarrett’s time, and there was a clear deadline on this deal, so the Falcons would have taken that into account.
It’s good to see a team taking care of their own, especially as it is becoming rarer in the NFL as a whole. Ultimately, with the Falcons’ lack of investment in their defence, Atlanta has no choice but to keep their top defensive talent around, whatever the cost. Jarrett has earned a big time deal as the Falcons premier run stuffer and is integral to their pass rush, despite playing on the interior. That being said, I can’t help but feel the Falcons could get more out of the former Clemson interior lineman if they added more talent around him, although they can start by getting players already on their roster like Vic Beasley to perform to their potential.
Image: USA Today FalconsWire