Grady Jarrett didn’t suit up Sunday night in the final game of the preseason, and rightfully so, as one of the best players on this team. He’s easily the best defender and arguably the best overall player on the roster, but his contract is expiring. He is playing in the second-to-last year of a 4-year, $68 million deal; however, that still gives the front office plenty of time to lock him up for the future. Currently, Jarrett is the seventh-highest paid interior defender in total value, eighth in APY, and sixth in total guaranteed.
The Falcons will certainly look to extend him before he’s able to hit the open market because a player of Jarrett’s caliber will certainly draw many suitors, effectively driving up the price for Atlanta. Obviously, re-setting the market would include topping Aaron Donald‘s 6-year, $135 million contract extension with the Rams from 2018. Signed three years ago, contract figures always rise, so that deal is definitely the bar for Jarrett’s next extension. I don’t know how much the Falcons value Jarrett, but he made comments to Jeff Schultz of The Athletic about his contract situation.
Last question: Is there anything you can say about your contract? The Falcons obviously want to extend your deal, which runs through 2022, but have obvious cap issues.
I don’t know. I want to see how this season shakes out. After this, I don’t have any guarantees left. (The guaranteed money is done after this season.) I’m just focused on playing right now. For real. I’m not really pressed about it. In due time. I learned from last time when we were going through this. It doesn’t stress me out because I know I’ll do my part.
Clearly, Jarrett is giving the standard PR answer, where he doesn’t come off as unsettling or self-indulging. He’s a pro’s pro, but he knows his value. Saying he’ll do his part is enough for me to think Jarrett will expect to reset the market, which might be too rich for the new regime’s taste. Even still, when asked about staying in Atlanta, Jarrett didn’t answer directly and just referenced an understanding of the business that is the NFL.
Do you want to stay here?
I love Atlanta, you know that. I love playing for Mr. Blank and the organization and everything they stand for. But at the end of the day, we all know how business goes. However it shakes out for me, Atlanta will always be home. But I love where I’m at, and I want to win where I’m at. But I understand the business and the way things go as well.
If he comes out and balls out in his first year under Dean Pees, the Falcons front office will have less leverage at the negotiating table, but I’ve talked about this and how getting a deal done sooner than later could be a cost-effective decision.
Jarrett is rightfully expecting to be one of the highest-paid interior defenders in this league. I think it would be wise to get ahead of the negotiation curve, given how he could perform this year. If Terry Fontenot and the front office began the process with Jarrett’s agent, it could save them some money. He is a two-time Pro Bowler with a season-best 7.5 sacks in one of those years. If the former fifth-round pick were to earn any league honors and/or top his best sack numbers, his price-tag would get much more expensive.
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