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Falcons extend Grady Jarrett

The Falcons lock up their standout defensive tackle, while helping their cap space.

New Orleans Saints v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons have come to terms on a new three year deal with standout defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, ensuring that the former fifth round draft selection will remain in Atlanta for the foreseeable future.

The extension should reduce Jarrett’s cap hit, which was originally slated to be $23.83 million before pen was put to paper, giving the Falcons some much needed relief while also retaining one of their best defensive players in the long run. We’re waiting for specifics on the contract, but the team should be able to sign their draft class and potentially add more free agents with this extension.

Jarrett was taken by the Falcons on the third day of the draft in 2015, and he played out what ended up being a massive bargain of a 4 year/$2.5 million rookie contract, as he rose to prominence along the interior of Atlanta’s defensive line.

In the 2019 offseason, Jarrett became just the third player whom the Falcons have ever used the franchise tag on. The tag would have paid him $15 million in 2019, before getting progressively more expensive each offseason had the Birds continued using it, but the Falcons came to terms on a 4 year/$68 million extension with the Clemson alum at the 11th hour, right before the deadline for franchise tag extensions expired.

2022 was slated to be the final year of that extension, as Grady was set to once again hit the free agent market next offseason. Questions swirled all offseason around whether he’d be extended or moved, and happily, the two sides were able to hammer out a new deal.

Jarrett has continued to blossom into one of the elite defensive tackles in football since the extension, getting voted to the Pro Bowl in 2019 and 2020, and being announced as a Second-Team All-Pro selection in 2019. He’s a stellar run stopper and often a force as a pass rusher, and opposing offenses focus on keeping him out of the backfield above all else when playing the Falcons.

This past season was a step back from the normally elite production we’ve become accustomed to seeing from Jarrett — he registered a 67.2 overall PFF score, which was the second-lowest of his career, and he failed to record more than one sack for the first time since his rookie season. His number of QB hurries was also the lowest its been since that rookie year, but that came in a defense that couldn’t rush the passer as a collective, and that dip in production was more of a product of teams being able to key on Jarrett than any step back from him. Certainly the Falcons’ willingness to work out a new, major deal speaks volumes about their opinion of Jarrett.

The Falcons have still never given Grady Jarrett sufficient help along the defensive line, in his career. Hopefully they do so this offseason, and the result is a bounce-back campaign for one of the team’s brightest stars, who is still firmly in his prime at the age of 29.