Even after getting cap space with the Julio Jones trade, should the Falcons still extend Grady Jarrett in 2021?

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After trading Julio Jones to the Tennessee Titans, the Falcons finally have a little bit of breathing room to add some free agents and sign their 2021 draft class. I broke down how much the Falcons have to spend earlier today, and I also talked about some free agents they could add in a separate article.

However, the Falcons aren’t out of the woods yet. The 2022 offseason will still be a bit hairy cap-wise, so Terry Fontenot and company will likely stay looking in the bargain bin for free agents. There has been a lot of talk around a Grady Jarrett extension, but it appears the organization will take at least a season to evaluate him before potentially going in that direction. I’m a fan of the idea, but not for that reason.

If the Falcons choose to extend Jarrett, they can lower his cap hit for the current season in exchange for more money down the road and obviously some extra security. I have zero concerns about Jarrett’s play, he’s one of the three best interior defenders in the entire NFL, and I think he will have even more success under Dean Pees. However, the lowered cap hit would serve the Falcons better in 2022 than it would in 2021.

Jarrett is currently under contract until 2023, carrying cap hits of $20.83 million in 2021 and $23.83 million in 2022. After that, he will be a free agent. The Falcons are already under the cap, and they have a little change to spend on free agents without making any other moves. There aren’t any impact players available that would eat up the remaining money they have, and with all of the restructuring they did this offseason, it will be more important to have a lower cap hit for Jarrett next offseason.

The cap ceiling for next season was reportedly set at $208.2 million, which is the highest that it could possibly be. Given the new Amazon television deal expected to spike the cap by a large margin in 2023, the Falcons will have more room to operate by default moving forward. Extending Jarrett is the right move, but waiting until 2022 is the best course of action to maximize the savings.

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