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Falcoholinks: All the Falcons news you need for Thursday, Mar. 7

Lots of Grady Jarrett headlines incoming.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Washington Redskins Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Grady Jarrett and his quest for a new contract has dominated the week in Atlanta Falcons news. We’ve got the latest in today’s Falcoholinks, as well as some other headlines and analysis.

Game of Tag

Grady Jarrett received the franchise tag earlier this week, keeping him from hitting free agency and guaranteeing him a a $15.2 million contract for the 2019 season. The Falcons maintain optimistic that a long-term deal will get done (as do we), but there’s certainly some concern and disappointment that an agreement couldn’t be reached prior to taking the franchise route.

That concern was elevated with the report that Jarrett and his team were hoping to hit the open market. It signals that the two sides are still extremely far apart in their negotiations. Potentially complicating matters is Grady’s representation, CAA, whose clientele also includes Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and Vic Beasley. In the aim of striking a long-term, lucrative deal with Grady Jarrett, there’s a delicate balance that needs to be maintained — any acrimony that arises from these conversations could potentially impact other contract negotiations down the road.

As for Grady? Well, rumors continue to circulate that he’s seeking a contract in line with Aaron Donald’s.

Creative Solutions?

The Atlanta Falcons are strapped for cash, so they will need to get creative if they intend to make any kind of splash this offseason. Should they elect to bring in a body to shore up a thin defensive line, a couple of pass-rushers could soon be available.

Kansas City is reportedly planning to move on from Justin Houston, and the Falcons should be interested if they can work some contractual wizardry. The Philadelphia Eagles also appear to be dangling Michael Bennett — a player that made a lot of sense for the Falcons before the Eagles snapped him up from the Seahawks in exchange for a fifth round pick.

Good News!

Some positive contract news for a change! With the Falcons placing the franchise tag on Grady Jarrett and the two sides at a seeming impasse regarding a long-term deal, the front office has turned its focus to another defensive cornerstone: Deion Jones.

Reports emerged this week that the team has begun formal conversations with Jones and his camp regarding an extension. Jones missed the bulk of last season with a broken foot, but as one of the games best young linebackers the Falcons are being prudent in getting a jump on contract talks. Deion Jones is slated to hit free agency in 2020, but with the two sides engaged early, hopefully it never gets that far.

Coaching Hires

The Falcons 2019 coaching staff seemed set — that was until they went out and hired the University of Miami’s Jess Simpson as their new defensive line coach. Bryant Young stepped down to devote more time to his family, hence the change this week.

Jess Simpson was with the team as a defensive assistant prior to leaving for the Miami gig.