Falcons: Denzel Ward’s record-breaking contract to be benchmark in future negotiations with AJ Terrell

building blocks

The Falcons don’t have many pieces on the roster to build around. Chris Lindstrom and Kyle Pitts are the two young offensive players that can be pillars in the regime’s rebuild. And defensively, the only undeniable one is AJ Terrell, who enjoyed quite the breakout campaign in 2021 and was predictably rewarded with All-Pro honors, even if he was snubbed from the Pro Bowl.

The trail of receivers Terrell has left in his wake is quite impressive — holding Deebo Samuel, Jaylen Waddle, and Corey Davis to 0 yards in their respective matchups. Even more impressive, he only surrendered 19 yards to Michael Gallup and 24 yards to Stefon Diggs, who is undoubtedly one of the best receivers in the game.

Atlanta has a star in the former Clemson Tiger. However, given Terrell’s pedigree, he won’t be cheap once his rookie deal ends, especially considering Denzel Ward just signed a record-breaking contract extension with the Browns, which is worth a reported $100.5 million over five years with $71.25 million guaranteed.

Ward’s deal eclipses Jalen Ramsey‘s $100 million and Marshon Lattimore‘s $97.6 million as the largest total value for a corner in league history. He’ll also exceed Ramsey’s record-breaking average annual value of $20 million with a $20.1 million AAV. Finally, Ward’s guaranteed money tops Ramsey’s $71.2 million. Locking down Terrell isn’t going to be cheap.

This isn’t even considering other corners like Jaire Alexander and Trevon Diggs, who will be up for extensions too. Alexander will undoubtedly become the league’s highest-paid cornerback as he’s set to hit free agency in 2023, which I’m sure the freehanded Cowboys will top with Diggs.

Diggs and Terrell are of the same caliber — Falcons fans will say Terrell is better and vice versa — so the latter’s agent will surely be using Diggs’ contract at the negotiating table. Alexander will be first in line; then it will be Diggs and Terrell, who’ll play in 2024 under their fifth-year options.

Photographer: David John Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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