The Falcons suffered a loss on the scoreboard yesterday but an even larger one in the injury department as well. Defensive tackle Grady Jarrett suffered an ACL tear and is out for the remainder of the season, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Jarrett exited Atlanta’s Week 8 loss to Tennessee, and further testing has confirmed the worst-case scenario. Today’s news will bring an end to the two-time Pro Bowler’s ninth season, each of which have come with the Falcons. Attention will turn to his recovery process while the team will be faced with replacing his production over an extended stretch for the first time in his career.
The 30-year-old has missed only three games across his time in Atlanta, and none since 2018. Jarrett’s loss will thus be notable in terms of its impact on the team’s defense but also its rarity. He has remained a full-time starter in 2023, though his playing time (62% snap share) has taken a dip compared to previous seasons.
That figure marks the lowest workload Jarrett has logged since 2016, as other members of the team’s defensive front have seen notable playing time. The Falcons made a number of moves in the offseason aimed at boosting their front seven, a unit which has for years relied heavily on Jarrett’s production as a pass rusher and a run defender. The former fifth-rounder has remained consistent in both regards, having posted 61 tackles and six sacks last year.
Given his durability and continued impact on the statsheet, it came as little surprise when Jarrett and the Falcons agreed to another extension in May 2022. That $49.5MM pact has him on the books through 2025. It also carries cap hits of $20.38MM over the next two years, so it will be crucial for the Clemson product to recover in full over the next several months and return to his pre-injury form once he is healthy. No guaranteed salaries remain on Jarrett’s deal, but $1MM roster bonuses are due in each of the next two league years, helping ensure his future in Atlanta.
With Jarrett no longer in the picture for 2023, the 4-4 Falcons will rely increasingly on the likes of David Onyemata, Ta’Quon Graham and Albert Huggins alongside Calais Campbell up front. Atlanta sits mid-pack in terms available cap space, meaning the team could explore a short-term replacement ahead of tomorrow’s trade deadline.