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Analysis of Grady Jarrett’s new contract and how it impacts the team this year and beyond

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It was a good deal for Jarrett, but also gives Atlanta room to make moves now.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Atlanta Falcons Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons and Grady Jarrett took their contract negotiation down to the wire, getting it done with just a few minutes left on the clock. The deal gives a great player more money and a guarantee beyond this season while the team locks up one of its stars for the next several years. The rumors that Grady wanted Aaron Donald money now appear to be false, as Jarrett’s deal puts him behind both Donald and Fletcher Cox in money per season.

Let’s take a look at some of the specifics of the deal and how this impacts the Falcons in 2019 and going forward.

Guaranteed money and cap hits

The contract is for 4 years and a total value of 68 million with a total of 42.5 million guaranteed, 38 million of which is guaranteed at signing. You can find all the details of the contract at Spotrac if you’re into that sort of thing.

Here are the important numbers. Grady gets an 18 million signing bonus and a guaranteed salary of 6.5 million in 2019. Along with an option bonus of 750k, his 2019 cap hit is now 11.75 million. The franchise tag was for 15.2 million, so the team has gained back a little under 3.5 million in cap space this year.

His remaining cap hits are 15.75, 18.75 and 21.75 million in 2020, 2021 and 2022 respectively.

Implications in 2019

For this year, the implications are huge. While 3.5 million may not seem like much space, it may be exactly what the team needs to get a new deal done with linebacker Deion Jones. This is a critical development for the Falcons. Had they not gotten a deal done with Jarrett, it would have made it very difficult to get a deal done with Deion. That also would have meant going into the 2020 off-season needing to get deals done with Jarrett and Jones and Austin Hooper - with only one franchise tag to go around.

With the deal in place, though, the team can now focus on getting Deion signed to a long-term deal and can enter 2020 needing to negotiate only one extension: Austin Hooper. That is a far better position for the team to be in and it makes it far more likely the team will be able to keep all three guys around.

Implications going forward

As we look at 2020, the 15.75 million cap hit for Grady is going to sting. With a projected salary cap of about 200 million in 2020, the Falcons would only have a little over 6.5 million in cap space. That number is likely to drop even lower if/when the team gives a new contract to Julio Jones and a new deal to Deion Jones. A new contract for Austin Hooper will likely put the team into the red.

Keeping Grady around will absolutely mean that some other guys won’t be. Some of the names we may see on the 2020 chopping block include: Mohamed Sanu (6.5m cap savings in 2020), Matt Schaub (2M cap savings in 2020) and maybe a surprise name or two. Alex Mack accounts for an 8M cap savings if cut in 2020, though the team may opt to try and extend him to lower his cap hit and keep him around. There’s also the possibility of restructuring Matt Ryan’s deal like they did this year and the same could be done with Jake Matthews.

Regardless, adding a nearly 16M cap hit to 2020 means some hard decisions will have to be made. Grady is unarguably one of the best defenders on this team and keeping him makes perfect sense.

So, while the team and Grady both benefited from the new deal, the implications are even bigger than just keeping one player. What are your thoughts on the new contract and how it impacts the team going forward?