Grady Jarrett Agrees to Falcons' $15.2M Franchise Tag Amid New Contract Rumors

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 23, 2019

Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett (97) is shown during their NFL football training camp practice Thursday Aug. 2, 2018 in Flowery Branch, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
John Bazemore/Associated Press

Veteran defensive tackle Grady Jarrett has signed his franchise tender with the Atlanta Falcons, the team announced Monday..

He will make $15.209 million in 2019, per Tabeek.

Jarrett was headed for free agency this offseason before the Falcons slapped him with the franchise tag in March. In confirming the move, general manager Thomas Dimitroff said the team was still planning to negotiate a new contract:

"As we have said since the end of the season, getting a deal done with Grady is our priority. Applying the franchise tag to him does not change that in any way. Our aim is for Grady to be an integral part of our plan for many years to come and this allows us to extend our negotiating window."

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's D. Orlando Ledbetter reported in early March that Jarrett and the Falcons were effectively at a stalemate regarding a multiyear agreement. Head coach Dan Quinn told Ledbetter the franchise tag would be an alternative in the absence of a breakthrough.

The two sides have until July 15 to reach a long-term deal.

At the NFL Honors celebration in February, Jarrett indicated to 11Alive Sports in Atlanta he was hopeful of staying with the Falcons in 2019 and beyond:

While there was no reason to question Jarrett's sentiment, he was always unlikely to give Atlanta a hometown discount.

The 25-year-old enjoyed a career year in 2018, finishing with 52 combined tackles and six sacks. Pro Football Focus' Mike Renner ranked him as the fifth-best free agent this offseason.

The question now becomes whether the Falcons can find a way to extend one of its best defensive players.

This was a defensive line that struggled throughout the 2018 season. The team was 28th in yards per carry allowed (4.9) and tied for 22nd in sacks (37). Football Outsiders also ranked the Falcons' defensive line 31st in adjusted line yards and 25th in adjusted sack rate.

Retaining Jarrett is a good start, but more is necessary in order to turn around a unit that was among the NFL's worst.

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