The Atlanta Falcons have had relatively little success drafting and developing offensive lineman over the past decade, with Jake Matthews standing out as the success story in the mid-to-late 2010s. Chris Lindstrom is one of those rare success stories, and is coming off the finest season of his career, a year that many ranked as among (or even the) best from a guard in the entire NFL.
As you’d expect, the Falcons are keen to keep that kind of player around, and per reports they’ve done so with an absolutely huge deal. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Falcons have locked up Lindstrom with a five year, $105 million pact that should keep him in Atlanta for years to come.
Falcons are giving guard Chris Lindstrom a a five-year, $105 million contract extension, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 13, 2023
The structure of this deal will be important, given the money involved, but it’s difficult to argue with the notion that Lindstrom is worth the money. Albert Breer reports that the deal includes $63 million in fully guaranteed money.
Source: The Falcons have signed G Chris Lindstrom to a five-year, $105 million extension with $63 million fully guaranteed. Busy day for Atlanta, with a new tight end coming in, and a core piece locked up.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 13, 2023
He just turned 26 years old and has gotten better every single year in Atlanta, earning his first Pro Bowl nod in 2022 and grading out as the best run blocker in the NFL per Pro Football Focus. Pair that with stellar pass protection and discipline—he was “credited” with just two sacks and two penalties all last season—and you have the kind of building block the Falcons clearly believe is critical to their future success. He was also the team’s Walter Payton Man of the Year for his work in the community.
Drafted in the first round in 2019, where he was a somewhat controversial selection, Lindstrom was one of the last great picks by Thomas Dimitroff, alongside 2020 selection A.J. Terrell. His rookie season got off to a rough start, as he only played in five games due to injury, but in 2020 he was good, in 2021 he was quietly terrific, and in 2022 he was loudly great. Particularly for an offense that prizes running the football the way Arthur Smith’s Falcons do, his run blocking has been a huge boon, and the fact that he also happens to be excellent in pass protection is a godsend.
With Lindstrom under contract, the Falcons have three positions accounted for on the line in 2023 unless they want to seek further upgrades, with Drew Dalman expected to hold down center and Matthews at left tackle. It remains to be seen whether they can get a deal done with right tackle Kaleb McGary, an impending free agent, and how they’ll address a hole at left guard. Having an elite guard is and a steady left tackle is, at the very least, a nice start.
Congratulations to Lindstrom on the deal, and may we someday look back on it as a worthwhile contract for a franchise great.