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Falcons place franchise tag on DT Grady Jarrett

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One of Atlanta’s top defensive players is staying with the Falcons.

Atlanta Falcons v Seattle Seahawk Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

The Falcons got a steal in Grady Jarrett when they selected him in the fifth round of the 2015 draft. Now they’ll hold on to the talented defensive tackle for at least one more season after applying the franchise tag to Jarrett on March 4, 2019, one day ahead of the deadline.

The tag came into play because the team wasn’t able to reach a long-term deal with Jarrett quickly enough to guarantee they’ll be able to keep him. But the overall goal hasn’t changed.

“As we have said since the end of the season, getting a deal done with Grady is our priority,” GM Thomas Dimitroff said in a statement released by the team. “Applying the franchise tag to him does not change that in any way. Our aim is for Grady to be an integral part of our plan for many years to come and this allows us to extend our negotiating window.”

Jarrett has been consistently productive for Atlanta. He dropped in the draft because at 6’0 and 305 pounds, he’s undersized for an NFL defensive tackle. But he’s made his size an asset in his style of play. His quickness off the snap makes him consistently disruptive.

He’s not necessarily a household name like Aaron Donald, but his stellar three-sack performance against the Patriots in Super Bowl LI got people’s attention. Jarrett is starting to be recognized nationally for his contributions.

He finished last season with 52 tackles and a career-high six sacks.

Jarrett, 25, is a fundamental piece of this young defensive core that should help Atlanta contend for the foreseeable future. Jarrett was one of few bright spots on an injury-decimated defense last season. He deserves a long-term extension, and hopefully the franchise tag will give the two sides time to work toward that ahead of the July 15 deadline for such negotiations