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Rumors continue that Grady Jarrett is looking for Aaron Donald money

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We first heard Jarrett may be looking to break the bank back in December. That rumor was quickly retracted but now it is popping up again.

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Atlanta Falcons Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

How much money does Grady Jarrett want? We thought the smart money was on a Fletcher Cox deal. Cox signed a $102.6 million, six-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles back in 2016. While the total numbers may look surprising, there are a lot of “fluff” numbers after the first four years and $63.39 million.

Regardless of how his deal shakes out, Jarrett should be looking a bit north of Cox’s $16 to $17 million average. Spotrac has Jarrett’s calculated market value at a reasonable $15.5 million per year, which feels far too optimistic given that it wouldn’t make him one of the couple of highest-paid players at his position.

Which is why it was so surprising to see Dave Archer, who does work for the Falcons, say, and I quote, “Grady’s agent is asking for Aaron Donald money.” Archer said the two parties are not even in the same ballpark, which we can probably confirm as no deal has been worked out months later.

Archer quickly issued a retraction regarding the contract negotiations.

Some of us noticed the Falcons release video with Archer as a commenter in the days after he first mentioned Jarrett’s contract demands. It’s not crazy to think he was mistaken. It is also not crazy to think that he may have been privy to some information about negotiations at Flowery Branch that he shared on the radio and later had to walk back.

Grady himself seemingly expressed frustration about the news shortly after the December article was posted with a Drake line. We can also confirm that he is, in fact, not an editor at The Falcoholic. Additionally, we have no plans to sell Jarrett’s secrets for a Range Rover.

Jeff Schultz of The Athletic also called the report inaccurate.

The matter was put to bed. At least it was before ESPN’s Vaughn McClure heard the same rumor at the combine.

And there was word at the combine among executives that Jarrett is looking for Aaron Donald money ($22.5 million per year). That Donald reference, however, didn’t come from Jarrett’s camp.

If having to franchise Jarrett didn’t make you worried, two consistent rumors regarding his contract demands should. Jarrett is absolutely one of the top defensive tackles in the league and deserves to be compensated as such, but Aaron Donald is Aaron Donald. The man had 20.5 sacks last season. In one season.

We probably will not know if the rumors are true but the Falcons are reportedly moving onto negotiations with Deion Jones. That may be a parallel track or it may be bad news for the team keeping Jarrett. It appears to gives more credence to reports the parties are not close in a deal. There may be a chance Jarrett is asking for more than the team can possibly pay and he finishes out his Atlanta career on the franchise tag either in 2020 or 2021.

What is clear is the Falcons cannot afford to pay Jarrett like the best defender in the league with their current and future salary cap picture, regardless of how much they may feel he deserves it.