Julio Jones has made it known he’s not worried about a new contract extension with the Falcons. “Mr. Blank’s word is golden,” Atlanta’s star receiver says in a recent video from TMZ. Blank has reiterated several times, according to Jones, that a deal will get done, and reports have suggested it could happen before the start of training camp. Either way, there will be no holdout. The same cannot be said for Atlanta’s defensive force in the middle of their line, Grady Jarrett.
Jarrett is scheduled to play this season under the franchise tag, which will pay him a hair over $15.2 million. That’s quite a pay raise for a player that was a fifth-round pick and is coming off of his rookie contract. Because of that, it’s highly unlikely he chooses to hold out into the season, and his presence at mandatory minicamp tells us he plans to be at training camp as well.
That’s the type of player Jarrett has been since his days at Clemson – team first. Dabo Swinney has called him a building block of the program that is now reigning National Champions because of the way he practiced day in and day out. That reputation has followed him to Atlanta, as he was named one of the six “chiefs” of the team, which is essentially a captain’s role. Jarrett’s focus this season is on bringing this city its first title in the four major sports since 1995, but after that, the man wants to be paid as he deserves.
Nobody knows where things stand as far as contract negotiations, but in December reports stated that Jarrett was looking for Aaron Donald money. Now, there is no way the Falcons oblige, but it shows Jarrett is ready to squeeze every penny out of his stellar production, and nobody can fault him for that. He’s entered the conversation of the best defensive tackles in football. Atlanta also is not in a fantastic bargaining position being that their defensive line has been notoriously weak since the arrival of Jarrett.
Fast forward six months, and there remains a gap in negotiations. Despite all the talk from Thomas Dimitroff about Jarrett being the main priority of the offseason, nothing but crickets have come from both camps in regards to a new deal. With each passing day, it is looking more and more likely Jarrett will play on the franchise tag. The two sides have until July 15th (Monday) at 4 P.M. to reach an agreement. If they don’t, arguably Atlanta’s best defensive player could become an unrestricted free agent this time next year.
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