Falcons: What would a Chris Lindstrom contract extension look like?

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The Falcons new regime has handed out two contract extensions, one to Grady Jarrett and the other to Jake Matthews. There are several candidates who deserve extensions, like AJ Terrell, but the more pressing situation is Chris Lindstrom. The 2019 first-round pick is set to play the 2023 season on his fifth-year option, which will pay him just north of $13 million. But before we even get to that point, the Falcons should ensure he’s locked up for the remainder of his prime years.

Lindstrom has established himself as one of the best guards in the league. He just earned Pro Bowl honors for the first time in his career and will likely be named to one of the All-Pro teams following the end of the season, which will only drive his price up. The Falcons have time to work out a deal, but getting a new contract negotiated earlier could end up saving the team some money in the long run. Lindstrom has made it known that he wants to remain in Atlanta.

“I want to be a Falcon for my whole career,” Chris Lindstrom said via Sports Illustrated.

A hometown discount is in the realm of possibilities, but fans shouldn’t expect it. What they should expect is a near-market-resetting contract. For the upcoming season, Quenton Nelson ($20 million), Elgton Jenkins ($17 million), Brandon Scherff ($16.5 million), Joe Thuney ($16 million), and Joel Bitonio ($16 million) lead all guards in average annual contract value. That’s about what Lindstrom will garner.

I can all but guarantee the Falcons won’t be making him the highest-paid guard in football. Nelson is a three-time first-team All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowler; Lindstrom doesn’t come close in that aspect. Jenkins’ four-year, $68 million deal is about where I see Chris Lindstrom slot in. Both have been selected to a Pro Bowl. On the flip side, Jenkins has proven capable of playing tackle at a high level, but Lindstrom might earn All-Pro honors for his 2022 campaign.

A deal worth about $75-85 million over five years is fair for both sides; $16-17 million per year would make him one of the highest-paid guards in the league, but it won’t reset the market, which he shouldn’t.

Prediction: 5 years, $80 million

Photographer: John Byrum/Icon Sportswire

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