Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff has exercised the fifth-year option on tackle Jake Matthews, according to a team announcement.. For now, a new long-term deal is on the back burner.
The decision to exercise Matthews’ option was not necessarily a hard one for Atlanta. Since entering the league, Matthews has been on the field for all but one possible regular season game and he has improved since his rookie season in 2014. The former No. 6 overall pick had a decent showing last year, earning a 74.3 overall score on Pro Football Focus. That mark left him ranked No. 37 amongst all tackles, putting him in the middle of the pack out of 78 qualified players.
That might not be indicative of a superstar, but the Falcons believe that Matthews will continue to grow into an even better offensive lineman. It’s also worth considering that the potential ~$12.81MM cap hit for 2018 doesn’t seem exorbitant when juxtaposed with this year’s inflated free agent offensive line market.
The fifth-year option for first-round picks is guaranteed for injury only, so the Falcons will have an escape hatch if Matthews stays healthy and the two sides are unable to reach terms on a new deal.
D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (on Twitter) first reported the Falcons’ decision.
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