Falcons: Jaylon Johnson deal could be precursor for A.J. Terrell

NFL: OCT 15 Commanders at Falcons

This will go down as one of the busier offseasons in Falcons franchise history.

NFL free agency hasn’t even begun yet, and Arthur Blank’s team has already gone through a whirlwind of a head coaching search as they landed on Raheem Morris. Next week, Terry Fontenot will be among the busiest men on the planet as he aims to patch some of the holes on the roster with the Falcons cap space, and then in a couple of months, he’ll have to nail another pivotal draft.

Beyond that, the Falcons also have a couple of critical in-house things to take care of. A decision must be made on Kyle Pitts’ fifth-year option, and A.J. Terrell is due for a contract extension before he enters the fifth and final year of his rookie contract.

Picking up Kyle Pitts’ fifth-year option is a no-brainer. His production has been underwhelming over the last couple of seasons, but most of that can be attributed to health and shoddy quarterback play. As long as the Falcons believe he can get back to 100%, they won’t have to think much about his fifth-year option.

Extending A.J. Terrell shouldn’t be much of a discussion either. He’s a former All-Pro and a pillar of an improving Falcons defense. Good organizations don’t let those kinds of players walk if they have money at their disposal, which the Falcons do. It’s just a matter of how much Terrell will get paid.

A corner of Terrell’s caliber could very much be looking to reset the market. Not that he’s the best at his position, but that’s typically how NFL contracts work. We saw a similar situation play out last offseason with Chris Lindstrom, who the Falcons made the highest-paid guard. The Falcons could opt not to pinch pennies and make Terrell the highest-paid corner in the league as well, but a contract that is probably more representative of his value would be similar to the deal Jaylon Johnson just signed with the Bears, four years, $76 million.

That’s $19 million a year and puts Johnson right around the top 10 in terms of the highest-paid cornerbacks. That’s probably more like what Terrell deserves, but that may not matter to the Falcons, who don’t seem too interested in messing around when it comes to keeping cornerstone pieces of their organization.

Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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