The Atlanta Falcons started voluntary offseason training activities last week, but one of the lone stars on the roster wasn’t present — Grady Jarrett. This is once again bringing a lot of uncertainty to the situation regarding the Pro Bowler’s future in Atlanta.
There was speculation that this holdout means he’ll be traded or that he’s holding out for a new deal. And that narrative has been picking up steam in recent days. Neither side wants to go into the 2022 season in a contract year, which could mean Jarrett wants an extension, and the team is working out whether a trade or extension is better suited for them.
Age shouldn’t be the concern in an extension scenario. After all, Atlanta just recently handed an older Jake Matthews a three-year extension. I believe the Falcons’ preference would be to keep Jarrett, but it might not be up to them. During Tuesday’s pre-draft press conference, Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot once again sang Jarrett’s praises, stating how much they appreciate him. However, there seemed to be an underlying message in their words.
“I know Grady Jarrett is working his ass off. We’re not concerned about him not being here right now. It’s not fair to anyone to negotiate publicly. But we’ve made it clear to him how we feel.” Falcons GM Terry Fontenot to @MikeBellATL @putemupcdukes
— DukesandBell929 (@DukesandBell929) April 26, 2022
"We've been clear about how we feel about Grady… We love Grady." Terry Fontenot said he'd like to keep a Grady Jarrett extension discussion in-house.
— Tori McElhaney (@tori_mcelhaney) April 26, 2022
It feels less and less likely an extension will get done. Jarrett is clearly deserving of it, but the front office might not be able to get the deal done for a couple of reasons. Either Jarrett wants an absurd figure, or he is forcing his way out of Atlanta. According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, the former Clemson Tiger is a potential candidate to be traded during draft week.
The Falcons will likely wait until draft time to see what kind of compensation is offered for the veteran’s services and then decide whether they’re better off giving him the extension or acquiring draft picks and continuing the rebuild.
Photographer: David John Griffin/Icon Sportswire