Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett loosens up during a NFL football training camp practice on Tuesday, August 7, 2018, in Flowery Branch.
Photo: Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com
Photo: Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons agree to four-year, $68 million deal with Grady Jarrett

The Falcons placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jarrett on March 4. The sides had until Monday to reach an new contract or Jarrett would have played the 2019 season under the $15 million tag.

Owner Arthur Blank proclaimed earlier in the offseason that Jarrett, who signed his $15.209 million franchise tender April 22, would be a “Falcon for life.” 

Jarrett was a fifth-round pick out of Clemson in 2015.

Entering the weekend, the negotiations were described as “cool” between the team and Jarrett’s agent, Todd France. But it was quickly added that things could “heat up” as the deadline approached.

Face to face meetings on Monday were successful.

Going all the way back to after the 2017 season, the Falcons have said that re-signing Jarrett, 26, was a priority. Jarrett’s rookie contract was a four-year, $2.527 million deal signed in 2015.

“As we have said since the end of the season, getting a deal done with Grady has been a priority and we are pleased to have accomplished that today,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said in a statement following the agreement. “Grady is an integral part of our organization and we look forward to moving together for many years to come.”

A total of $42.5 million of the deal is fully guaranteed, which includes an $18 million signing bonus, according to a report by profootballtalk.com. 

It was noted by CBS Sports business analyst Joel Corry, a former agent, that France also represents the NFL’s two highest paid interior defensive linemen, Aaron Donald ($22.5 million per year) and Fletcher Cox ($17.1 million per year). 

“One down and two to go,” said Corry, noting that the Falcons also want to get deals done with All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones and middle linebacker Deion Jones.

Jarrett’s deal looks like a win-win for him and the team.

“Right before free agency starts, I do an article with about 10 to 15 guys and what they should be targeting,” said Corry, an Emory graduate. “I had Jarrett at $17 million per year, but $85 million over five. I had $52.5 million in overall guarantees, $37.5 million fully guaranteed at signing with $54 million over the first three years. So, this deal at $17 million per year doesn’t surprise me.”

The deal gives both sides some flexibility moving forward. 

“Four (years) as opposed to five actually makes more sense,” Corry said. “If he’s continues to play at a really high level, he may only play three of the new years and they’ll renew again in his contract year.”

 

Jarrett had 52 tackles, six sacks, 16 quarterback hits, three forced fumbles and eight tackles for losses last season. He has 46 starts in 61 games in his career and tied an NFL record with three sacks against the Patriots in Super Bowl 51.

The Falcons are also working on a contract extension for wide receiver Julio Jones, who is projected to land a deal that averages more than $20 million per year. Training camp begins this week with rookies scheduled to report Thursday and veterans Sunday. 

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