Grady Jarrett gets 3-year contract extension with Falcons

The Falcons agreed to a three-year contract extension with defensive tackle Grady Jarrett on Tuesday, according to a person familiar with the negotiations. (AP photo)

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The Falcons agreed to a three-year contract extension with defensive tackle Grady Jarrett on Tuesday, according to a person familiar with the negotiations. (AP photo)

The Falcons agreed to a three-year contract extension with defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, the team announced Tuesday morning.

“We’ve been clear with how we feel about Grady, the person, the player, all those things,” Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot said April 26 of the ongoing negotiations. “Love Grady, but we’ll keep that in house.”

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The total contract, which will lower the Falcons’ salary cap, will be worth up to $67 million, with $34.5 million of the deal guaranteed. He’ll have another $1.5 million in incentives, according to Zach Klein of WSB-TV Channel 2 Action News.

Pittsburgh’s Cam Heyward signed a deal in 2020 for $16.4 million per year, which was the most ever for an interior defensive lineman at least 29 years old. Jarrett’s deal surpasses at $16.5 million per year, and with the incentives it could reach $17 million per year.

With Jarrett as the centerpiece up front, the Falcons moved to a 3-4 defensive alignment in the 2021 season.

Jarrett played 865 defensive snaps and had 59 tackles, a sack and 17 pressures (hurries or knockdowns) on the quarterback. But he primarily was the lone producer on the line as injuries and COVID-19 cases had the Falcons shuttling players in and out of the lineup.

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Jarrett, defensive end Jonathan Bullard and nose tackle Tyeler Davison worked together for most of training camp, but injuries and sickness limited Bullard to nine games, four starts and 224 defensive snaps (19.1%). Davison played in 12 games, made 11 starts and played 358 defensive snaps (30.6%).

Both were not re-signed this offseason.

Some teams elected to focus solely on Jarrett, who’s attracted a lot of double-team blocking combinations. The two-time Pro Bowler even was triple-teamed in one game.

The Falcons were poor against the run, as they gave up 131.9 yards per game, which ranked 27th in the NFL. The defensive front didn’t help much in the pass rush, either.

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Only Jarrett and Marlon Davidson had a sack, as the team finished last in the league with 18 sacks.

The Falcons tried to move Jarrett around to try to free him.

“There have been some times where we played him outside,” Falcons defensive coordinator Dean Pees said. “Tried to rush him from outside and keep him away from the big guys inside. But it’s kind of inherent to his position that if you play in there, (and) you’re good, they are going to double-team you.”

Jarrett, who played at Rockdale County High and Clemson, was drafted in the fifth round of the 2015 draft.

He played some nose tackle as a rookie, when he saw the field in 15 games and made two starts. Jarrett became a starter in 2016 and helped the Falcons reach Super Bowl LI.

Jarrett, a sudden and disruptive player, was named to the Pro Bowl after the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

Overall, he’s started 95 of 110 NFL games. He has made 359 tackles, 26.5 sacks, 54 tackles for loss and 89 quarterback hits.

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