In an interview with Justin Felder of Fox 5, Grady Jarrett said that he hadn’t heard anything about the possibility of a contract extension or restructure.
"What you know is what I know … if my agent needs me to know something, I'm sure he'll tell me."
—#Falcons defensive lineman Grady Jarrett to @Justin_FOX5 on possibility of a contract extension or restructure, which could help Atlanta's salary cap situation pic.twitter.com/RMA7uICItd
— FOX 5 Sports (@FOX5Sports) April 19, 2021
Jarrett’s current contract was signed in July of 2019 that extended him four years, totaling $68 million, making him the third highest-paid defensive tackle in the league. He is now in the second to last year of that deal with a cap hit slightly north of $20 million, which is the third-highest cap hit for the Falcons this year — behind Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. There is a potential out in his contract after this season, which would carry a dead cap of only $7.333 million, but I seriously doubt the former Clemson Tiger isn’t in Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith’s future plans. There is also a tidbit in his contract that does allow the front office to convert any portion of a player’s [Jarrett’s] paragraph 5 salary into signing bonus per Aaron Freeman.
Do they have to approach him about a restructure at all due to “automatic conversion” language built into the contract? pic.twitter.com/T7wJK7CuN0
— Aaron Freeman (@falcfans) March 11, 2021
This obviously doesn’t include any contract extension as there would have to be approval from both sides, but a long-term deal may be difficult for a first-year regime with so many other moving parts. The amount saved on an extension this year is a relative number. If one is agreed upon, there are a multitude of factors to consider when calculating the cap savings in 2021. The amount of years added is always crucial, but the base salary is more indicative of the cap figures.
If Jarrett believes himself to be one of the best defensive tackles in football, he will expect to be paid as such. This would require a salary north of $20 million, but in order to lessen the burden now, the structure of the contract must be altered. Giving players a signing bonus prorated over the duration of the contract enables a drop in cap hit — excluding previous unamortized proration. NFL salary cap experts have a plethora of strategies to lessen players’ cap hits, but Fontenot is likely waiting to begin contract negotiations until after the draft.