Bleacher Report identifies Falcons’ most important contract extension ahead of 2023

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The Falcons exercised Chris Lindstrom’s fifth-year option last offseason, then made him the highest-paid guard in football this offseason. It seems the club is gearing up for a similarly lucrative extension for another All-Pro — A.J. Terrell.

The former first-rounder is slated to make just north of $12 million under his fifth-year option and is eligible to sign an extension, which Bleacher Report identifies as the most important contract extension ahead of 2023

After extending guard Chris Lindstrom in March, the Falcons may want to turn their focus to cornerback A.J. Terrell. The 24-year-old has two years remaining on his contract, including the fifth-year option, but extending him now would make some sense.

Terrell has blossomed into a quality starter for the Falcons. He started 30 games over the past two seasons and tallied 15 passes defended and three interceptions during that span. While Atlanta could wait until after Terrell’s fourth season for an extension, as it did with Lindstrom, there’s one big reason not to wait.

To put it bluntly, the price of starting-caliber cornerbacks will only go up. The league’s top cornerbacks, like Jaire Alexander, Marlon Humphrey and Xavien Howard all make more than $18 million annually. That will probably become the floor for Terrell if he has a breakthrough Pro Bowl campaign this season. Getting ahead of the growing CB market and signing Terrell early would be sensible.

Terrell enjoyed quite the breakout campaign in 2021 and was predictably rewarded with All-Pro honors, even if he was snubbed from the Pro Bowl. Though, he followed it up with a subpar 2022 by his standards. Still, he’s in line for quite the lucrative extension, especially after seeing Jaire Alexander and Denzel Ward’s respective deals.

Ward’s deal is worth $100.5 million over five years with $71.25 million guaranteed, both resetting the market. His $20.1 million average annual value was the highest mark at the time but has recently been reset by Alexander’s $21 million per year deal.

The Falcons should try to complete this new contract with Terrell as soon as possible, especially considering Dallas will be looking to do the same with Trevon Diggs. The freehanded Cowboys will surely attempt to make a statement with Diggs’ extension.

On a talent basis, Terrell isn’t the best cornerback in football, but that’s not how NFL contracts work. The Falcons didn’t fool around with Chris Lindstrom, and I don’t think they will work with Terrell.

The club wants to reward its own guys, and A.J. Terrell is going to be a pillar of this franchise. I’d expect a deal worth between $21 and 22 million over four or five years, resetting the cornerback market.

Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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