The Atlanta Falcons have officially completed Matt Ryan’s massive contract extension. It’s what General Manager Thomas Dimitroff called the team’s main priority heading into the offseason, and now it’s time for him to turn his attention to extending Left Tackle Jake Matthews.
If you forgot about Bruce Matthews’ middle son over the course of these past few weeks, that’s okay. The Ryan contract was at the forefront of everyone’s mind, and this includes the front office. However, this extension will now move to the top of Dimitroff’s to-do pile over the course of the next few months.
Matthews, the number six overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, is currently set to play out the 2018 season under his fifth-year option (which was exercised before the start of last season) for a salary (and cap hit) of $12,496,000.
Matthews has been a very solid left tackle in the league over the course of his first four seasons. He’s started 68 out of 69 career games thus far, and he played all of the team’s 1,024 snaps in the 2017 regular season. His yards allowed as a result of sacks has steadily decreased with each passing season (40.0 to 35.0 to 25.0 to 18.0).
The former Texas A&M Aggie has yet to make a Pro Bowl, but he will get paid because he’s an above average player who plays a premium position. Left tackle is probably the second most important position in football because the player in that position is in charge of protecting the Quarterback’s blindside. As a result, Matthews is arguably one of the five most important players on Atlanta's roster at the moment.
The $12,496,000 that Matthews will receive this season is set to be the sixth highest cap hit among all tackles in the NFL. If and when the Falcons extend him, they should be able to free up a decent amount of cap space to make some final plugs within the roster before the start of the 2018 season.
For those who feel that the Falcons shouldn’t re-sign Matthews because of the mental mistakes he’s sometimes prone to making (I’m still just as upset about that hold in the Super Bowl as you are), take a moment to check what the alternatives would be for Atlanta at the Left Tackle position. I’ll actually save you the trouble, they’re not very good.
Franchise LTs are seldom allowed to hit the free agency market because there are so few of them in the NFL. Jake Matthews is a franchise LT, and as a result, he’ll get paid some big money for being one. If you want to find one in the draft, then you’ll be out of luck unless you have a top 15 pick in most cases (not all, but most).
That Jake Matthews extension is coming, and I would guess that it happens sometime during Training Camp. Don’t be blindsided when it does happen, the way Matt Ryan used to be blindsided by opposing pass rushers in nearly every game of the 2013 season before the Falcons drafted Matthews.