The Falcons may be forced to use the franchise tag on Grady Jarrett. D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the defensive tackle and the organization are “not close to reaching a new contract deal.”
The deadline to place the franchise tag on a player is March 5th. If the Falcons don’t agree to an extension with Jarrett by that time, the team may have no choice but to tag the defensive lineman. Otherwise, the team would have to let the 25-year-old hit free agency, at which time he could garner a number of lucrative offers.
As Ledbetter notes, the team may struggle to afford Jarrett’s franchise value. The franchise tag for defensive tackles is $15.21MM, and that would take up the majority of the Falcons’ $22.3MM in cap space.
The Falcons have made it clear that they want to retain Jarrett, with general manager Thomas Dimitroff telling Ledbetter that the organization is focused on getting a deal done. Head coach Dan Quinn had similar thoughts, and he indicated that the team may be willing to franchise the lineman.
“I would say it’s definitely on the table to discuss really thoroughly, but we’ll have to wait until to then to see if a deal can be done first,” Quinn said. “The good news is…that our team and Grady’s team can have good conversations about things that hopefully we can keep working towards some common ground that would be right for both sides.”
The 2015 fifth-round pick has established himself as one of the top defensive tackles in the NFL. Despite playing in only 14 games in 2018, he still had his best statistical season, compiling 52 tackles, six sacks, and three forced fumbles. Pro Football Focus ranked Jarrett fifth among 112 eligible interior defenders.
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