Defensive lineman happy to pass on tricks of the trade to the younger players during this week's minicamp in Flowery Branch. (Video by D. Orlando Ledbetter).

Cover 9@9: The clock is ticking on time to get Grady Jarrett’s deal done

1. Jarrett on the clock. The clock is ticking on the Falcons and signing defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, who received the team’s franchise tag, to a long-term deal.

The Falcons have a deadline of 4 p.m. Monday to reach a deal or Jarrett will have to play the 2019 season on the $15.2 million franchise tag.

Houston’s Jadeveon Clowney and San Francisco kicker Robbie Gould were the other players to receive the franchise tag this offseason.

After the team placed the $15.2 million franchise tag on Jarrett, it started the process of renegotiating wide receiver Julio Jones’ deal, which is projected to lead to a more than $20 million per year salary. 

“They are both great players, both Grady and Julio,” Blank told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution via phone from the NFL meetings in Phoenix recently. “They both will be Falcons for life. I feel pretty good, comfortable and confident in saying that.”

Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas, Dallas wide receiver Amari Cooper and Jones are all hoping to get extensions. 

The Falcons’ rookies are scheduled to report for training camp on the Thursday, July 18. The veterans are set to report on Sunday, July 21. 

2. Position by Position preview: In order to help everyone get ready for training camp, we started the 10-part position-by-position series. 

3A. Supplemental draft: The Falcons conducted the workout for former Washington State safety Jalen Thompson on Monday in Los Angeles, according to Tony Pauline of

Thompson and former West Virginia wide receiver Marcus Simms are projected to be selected in the supplemental draft today.

3B. Falcons’ opening: The Falcons have an opening at the backup free safety position, while starter Ricardo Allen is recovering from Achilles surgery. Thompson measured just over 5 feet, 10 inches and weighed 186 pounds with 8 3/8-inch hands and an arm strength of 31 1/4, according to Pauline. He had a 33 1/2 vertical and 40-yard dash times of 4.47 and 4.56, with a 4.16 in the short shuttle and a 6.98 in the three cone.

Thompson lost his final year of NCAA eligibility for a rules violation, prompting him to declare for the supplemental draft.

Former Syracuse linebacker Shyheim Cullen, former Saint Francis defensive back Bryant Perry and former junior college tight end Devonaire Clarington also have entered the supplemental draft.

Current general manager Thomas Dimitroff has not used the supplemental draft since joining the franchise in 2008. 

In franchise history, the Falcons have only selected one player in the traditional supplemental draft: Defensive end Matthew Teague in 1980 with a seventh round pick.

They selected three players in the special USFL and CFL supplemental draft of 1984: wide receiver Joey Jones, defensive tackle McInnis and defensive back Dennis Woodbery. 

The Falcons would forfeit the pick in the 2020 draft depending on the round a player is selected in the supplemental draft. If they elected to pick Thompson in the third round of the supplemental draft, they would lose their third round pick for the 2020 NFL draft. 

4. Meyer on Haskins: At the QB summit that was held in Atlanta we chatted with Fox analyst and former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer about Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who was selected 15th overall in the NFL draft. 

“He’s going to be great,” Meyer told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He’s very intelligent. His only issue is that he played just one year, every other thing, he’s got it. Intelligent. Great kid. Very smart. He was the most accurate passer that I’ve ever had.”

Haskins passed for 50 touchdowns in his one season as Ohio State’s starting quarterback. 

5. Preparing coaches: The QB Summit was key to helping potential minority candidates be prepared for any possible future opportunities. 

“The pipeline and the focus on preparing coaches is critical to the future of the game,” Fritz Pollard Alliance executive director Rod Graves told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We should always be prepared to take the next step and be in position to take the job opportunities that come up whether if they be at the quarterback position, or where ever they are on the field. I look at this type of summit as a modern day coaching clinic. That is what coaches used to do to hone in on their skills, to perfect their talents and stay in touch.”

Graves started working in the NFL in 1982. His father Jackie Graves was a former front office executive with the Eagles. 

“I think what Fritz Pollard has to do is build on these type of situations is to focus on the owner and decision-making side of the equation,” Graves said. “Where when we get opportunities we just want to make sure that the process is fair and legitimate.

“To me, until we make a stake in that area, in all of the preparation that we do, can be for not. Our focus has to be on legitimate processes and making sure that the opportunities are fair.”

6. Sham NFL interviews: We discussed the issue of sham interviews by NFL teams to comply with the Rooney Rule with Graves.

“They were inclusive,” Graves said of the New York Jets in the recent hiring of general manager Joe Douglas. “We worked very closely with the Jets. Their owner was involved. High level executives including the head coach was involved.”

Graves said the Jets’ process was thorough and fair. 

“Even though they ended up going with a candidate that they had a previously relationship with, meaning the head coach had a previous relationship, I understand that,” Graves said. “But we had an opportunity to come in, sit down at the table and have a thorough interview process.

“Those guys gave it their best pitch and talking to the Jets they were impressed with both, but ended up going with Joe Douglas, who I’ve known for years. There is no argument against him getting the job. He’s a very qualified personnel man.”

7A. The bizarre Houston situation: Houston has yet to hire a replacement for the fire Brian Gaine. Former Falcons executive Ray Farmer interviewed for the opening. 

“We are monitoring the situation in Houston,” Graves said. “They started out fast and now they’ve slowed their process. We are continuing to watch it and have dialogue with them. Again, we just want to make sure that the processes are legitimate and their intentions are legitimate.

“If they aren’t then it flies in the face of the Rooney Rule and it flies in the face of commitment to diversity.”

7B. League fines: A quick search reveals the Detroit was fined $200,000 for violating the Rooney Rule back in 2003 when they hired Steve Mariucci without interviewing any minority candidates.

There were calls for the Raiders to be fined in the hiring of Jon Gruden. 

“Houston brought in two excellent candidates,” Graves said. “After that, the process has slowed tremendously. So, our concern is whether or not there was a true intent when they brought those candidates in. Those are the type of things we are looking at and will continue to talk about and monitor.” 

8. Falcons need to add more open practice dates: The Falcons, who are trying to building a bigger fan base, should follow the lead of the Broncos, Packers, Vikings and Cowboys, who all have double the amount of open practices than the Falcons. 

Denver plays in the Hall of Fame game, but still found a way to schedule a league-high 19 open practices. 

The Falcons open the exhibition season Thursday, Aug. 1 when they play the Denver Broncos in the Pro Football Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio.


Monday, July 22 

Practice: 9:35 a.m.

OPEN - Gates: 8:30 a.m.

Tuesday, July 23 

Practice: 9:35 a.m.

OPEN - Gates: 8:30 a.m.

Wednesday, July 24 

Practice: 9:35 AM

OPEN - Gates: 8:30 a.m.

Thursday, July 25 

Practice: 9:35 AM

OPEN - Gates: 8:30 a.m.

Friday, July 26 


Saturday, July 27 

Practice: 9:35 a.m.

OPEN - Gates: 8 a.m.

Sunday, July 28 

Practice: 9:35 a.m.

OPEN - Gates: 8 a.m.

Monday, July 29 

Practice: 9:35 a.m.

OPEN - Gates: 8:30 a.m.

Sunday, Aug. 4 | Military Appreciation Day at Mercedes-Benz Stadium 

Practice: 12:30 p.m.

OPEN - Gates: 10 a.m.

9. DEPTH CHART:  Here’s a look at the depth chart heading into training camp: 


WR 11 Julio Jones, 14, Justin Hardy, 83 Russell Gage, 13 Christian Blake, 16 Shawn Bane 

LT 70 Jake Matthews, 73 Matt Gono, 75 John Wetzel, 69 Lanard Bonner, 65 Jaelin Robinson 

LG 77 James Carpenter, 60 Adam Gettis, 73 Matt Gono 

C 51 Alex Mack, 71 Wes Schweitzer 61 Chandler Miller

RG 68 Jamon Brown, 63 Chris Lindstrom, 64 Sean Harlow

RT 74 Ty Sambrailo, 76 Kaleb McGary, 67 Devon Johnson

TE 81 Austin Hooper, 88 Luke Stocker, 82 Logan Paulsen, 85 Eric Saubert, 87 Jaeden Graham, 89 Alex Gray

WR 12 Mohamed Sanu, 18 Calvin Ridley, 15 Devin Gray, 19 Kahlil Lewis, 7 C.J. Worton, 17 Olamide Zaccheaus

QB 2 Matt Ryan, 8 Matt Schaub, 6 Kurt Benkert

RB 24 Devonta Freeman, 25 Ito Smith, 23 Brian Hill, 32 Qadree Ollison, 38 Kenjon Barner, 30 Tony Brooks-James, 43 Marcus Green

FB 30 Ricky Ortiz, 88 Luke Stocker, 87 Jaeden Graham


DE 44 Vic Beasley Jr., 91 Chris Odom

DT 95 Jack Crawford, 96 Tyeler Davison, 94 Deadrin Senat, 50 John Cominsky, 77 Ra’Shede Hageman, 93 Michael Bennett

DT 97 Grady Jarrett, 79 Jacob Tuioti-Mariner, 92 Justin Zimmer

DE 98 Takk McKinley, 99 Adrian Clayborn, 50 John Cominsky

WLB 54 Foyesade Oluokun, 42 Duke Riley, 52 Yurik Bethune

MLB 45 Deion Jones, 55 Bruce Carter, 49 Tre Crawford, 46 Del’Shawn Phillips

SLB 59 De’Vondre Campbell, 36 Kemal Ishmael, 53 Jermaine Grace, 48 Durrant Miles

CB 26 Isaiah Oliver, 33 Blidi Wreh-Wilson, 23 Jayson Stanley

NCB 27 Damontae Kazee, 28 Jordan Miller

CB 21 Desmond Trufant, 39 Taveze Calhoun, 20 Kendall Sheffield, 32 Rashard Causey

FS 37 Ricardo Allen, 41 Sharrod Neasman, 34 Chris Cooper, 35 Jason Thompson, 43 Parker Baldwin

SS 22 Keanu Neal, 37 J.J. Wilcox, 40 Ryan Neal 


K 4 Giorgio Tavecchio

KO 5 Matt Bosher

P 5 Matt Bosher

KR 38 Kenjon Barner, 18 Calvin Ridley

PR 38 Kenyon Barner, 3 Marcus Green, 16 Shawn Bane 

L S 47 Josh Harris, 48 Kyle Vasey

H 5 Matt Bosher 


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About the Author

D. Orlando Ledbetter
D. Orlando Ledbetter
D. Orlando Ledbetter is the Atlanta Falcons beat writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.