Atlanta’s offseason focus in the draft and free agency may have been on the offensive side of the ball, but contractually, it was all about defense for Thomas Dimitroff. The top priority was extending Grady Jarrett before the July 15th deadline. They barely beat the bell on that, inking him to a four-year, $68 million deal.
Adam Schefter informed us after Jarret was locked up that the focus shifted to Deion Jones, but we didn’t know how quickly an extension would get done. Falcons representatives met face-to-face with Jones’ agent, Drew Rosenhaus, on Wednesday, and before 6:00 ET, they had agreed to a four-year, $57 million extension.
Falcons are signing LB Deion Jones a four-year, $57 million extension, including $34 million guaranteed, @RosenhausSports tells ESPN. Jones is now tied to the Falcons through the 2023 season.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 17, 2019
Jones, who might be the best coverage linebacker in football and is among the best at his position overall, was sorely missed once he hit Injured Reserve after week one of last season. The Falcons spiraled out of control, and by the time he returned, it was too late.
If Atlanta needed any other reason to extend Jones, they got it in his absence. Their defense went from one rising into the top-five to the cellar real quick. He wasn’t the only one who suffered an injury. Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen were both lost for the season as well. But it was Jones’ versatility that could not be mimicked.
This is another deal that had to happen, and the Falcons were hoping to complete it before he hit unrestricted free agency next offseason. Now, they have the two cornerstones of their defense locked up for the foreseeable future.
Next up will be an extension for Julio Jones. The star wide receiver has wanted a new contract since the 2018 offseason and has waited patiently. He says he’s not worried about it happening because Arthur Blank gave him his word, which is “gold.” I would not be surprised if Julio had a new deal before training camp begins next week.