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Report: Falcons “not close” with Grady Jarrett on contract extension

Free agency is approaching quickly and the Falcons look destined to use their franchise tag on the standout defensive tackle.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Atlanta Falcons Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

In what was expected to be an easy but active offseason, the Falcons are stuck in perhaps their worst case scenario. Only weeks ago we calculated how the Falcons could free up nearly $50 million in cap space. The space would provide for a long-term deal with Grady Jarrett, a pay bump for Julio Jones, and plenty of spending money for some big free agents.

Now it is March and the team may be scraping by and unable to so much as replace their lost free agents. The team, widely expected to rescind Vic Beasley’s fifth-year option or rework the deal, will pay him nearly $13 million for 2019. Ryan Schraeder and a few other high priced veterans with diminishing roles remain on the roster. The team cut proven veterans like Matt Bryant but signed 37 year-old quarterback Matt Schaub to a two-year extension.

Atlanta’s spending cash is drying up. Now a deal with Jarrett looks unlikely before free agency. Per D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The Falcons are not close to reaching a new contract deal with defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, according to a source with knowledge of the negotiations. However, the Falcons remain optimistic a deal can get done.

Thomas Dimitroff has been publicly optimistic they can work out a deal with Jarrett since last offseason, so please take that with a grain of salt. The team desperately needs to get a deal done with Jarrett prior to free agency, as the long-term deal frees up needed cap space early in the contract. Paying both Jarrett and Beasley on one-year deals strangles free cap space.

As noted by DLed, the franchise tag for a defensive tackle is expected to be around $15 million. Add in Beasley’s number, and 15 percent of the 2019 cap goes to two defensive linemen. One of those linemen isn’t guaranteed to start.

Dave Archer, former Falcons quarterback and current analyst reported the two were not close and Jarrett was asking for Aaron Donald money. He quickly backed off his statement, but the timing was notable as he was just at Flowery Branch recording clips for the team’s social media.

It is a bad place to be for the team. Both Thomas Dimitroff and Dan Quinn appear to be on short leashes with owner Arthur Blank and desperately need to bring the team back to relevance. That will be tough to do without spending in free agency.