Going into 2019 free agency, the Falcons didn’t have a ton of wiggle room to sign a bunch of new guys. With long-term contracts looming for guys like Grady Jarrett and Deion Jones and an extension for Julio Jones also promised, it was unlikely that the team would be able to be big players in free agency. That said, the team freed up around $7 million in cap space using an automatic salary conversion in Matt Ryan’s contract and found a way to use that cap space by signing Jamon Brown and James Carpenter.
At this point, it seems highly likely that both guys will go into the season as the presumed starters at both guard spots. Our own Eric Robinson has done a great job looking at how these guys will fit in with the team this year. I want to take a look at the structure of their contracts and how it is helping the team in the short term and the long term.
Jamon Brown signed a three-year deal worth $18.75 million with $12.5 million fully guaranteed. As you can see in the chart below, his signing bonus of $5.5 million gives the team the ability to limit his cap hit this year while also getting him the cash he was looking for. At an average of under $7 million per year, his deal puts him in the middle of the pack for his position. It’s a very reasonable deal that could be very team friendly if Brown ends up being a quality starter in Atlanta.
James Carpenter signed a four-year deal for a maximum of $21 million and just $7 million guaranteed. His cap hit will never exceed $6.5 million in any year of the contract and his first year cap hit of $2.875 million gives the team the flexibility to pursue long-term deals with some of their own guys.
Ultimately, the value of these deals will be proven on the field. However, the Falcons certainly recognized the issue on the offensive line and made two solid moves to address it. The fact that they did not break the bank to do it shows this front office is not as foolish as many fans seem to think they are.