About a month ago, hours before the NFL’s legal tampering period began, the Falcons and Jake Matthews agreed to a three-year extension. Matthews is the first player drafted by the former regime that has received an extension, though I expect AJ Terrell and Chris Lindstrom to be the next in line.
It’s easy to see why Fontenot and Smith want Matthews around for a few more years — he’s an ultra-reliable player at a premium position. Matthews’ $15 million 2022 cap hit is a great figure, but his nearly $34 million cap hit in 2023 is unsettling. Falcons fans can fully expect the front office to convert his roster bonus to lower that number next year.
It’s a reasonable extension for one of the most consistent tackles in the league. Whichever quarterback prospect the Falcons eventually draft will have his blindside covered. Even if Matthews’ play declines, the Falcons do have a way out. Cutting the former Aggie would cost the Falcons $7.5 million in 2024, $5 million in 2025, and $2.5 million in 2026.
With his original deal set to expire following the 2023 season, the Falcons locked up the offense’s blindside for what could be the rest of his career, depending on his health. This move creates some much-needed cap space for the Falcons and gives Matthews the reassurance he’s in the team’s future plans.
On Tuesday, the Falcons kicked off voluntary workouts. Matthews spoke to members of the media and gave his vote of confidence in the new regime in charge. For a seasoned veteran like Matthews to praise Fontenot and Smith, it should resonate with the fanbase to be a little more patient with the two men.
Jake Matthews said he "jumped on the opportunity" to sign his extension. Added he believes in what Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot are building in Atlanta. Have to think he wouldn't have signed that extension here if he didn't.
— Tori McElhaney (@tori_mcelhaney) April 19, 2022
Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire