Atlanta has just acquired a new playmaker on offense, but one of the unit’s top players will remain in place for years to come. Right guard Chris Lindstrom has agreed to terms on a “mega-extension,” per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (Twitter link). The team has confirmed the deal.
Providing terms on the deal, Fowler’s colleague Adam Schefter tweets that it is a five-year pact worth $105MM. The former first-rounder was set to play on the fifth-year option in 2023, but he will now be on the books for the foreseeable future as the league’s highest-paid interior o-lineman. SI’s Albert Breer adds that the contract includes $63MM in guaranteed money (Twitter link).
The $21MM annual average value of this deal puts the 26-year-old slightly ahead of Colts left guard Quenton Nelson, who last offseason became the only non-left tackle in NFL history to eclipse the $20MM-per-season mark. The fifth-year option on Lindstrom’s deal carries a value of $13.2MM. This new pact may be aimed at lowering that figure slightly, though Atlanta entered the offseason in better financial shape than most teams.
Lindstrom was the 14th overall pick in the 2019 draft, and represented one of several moves in recent years by the Falcons to invest in their offensive front. He has certainly lived up to expectations, serving as a full-time starter at right guard right away. His rookie season was limited to just five contests, but he has not missed a game since then. That durability, along with his level of play, makes this move a worthy investment.
The Boston College alum was PFF’s highest-rated player last season, earning a sparkling overall grade of 95. His rating in that regard his increased steadily over each of his four campaigns in Atlanta. His strength has been in run blocking, though his pass protection has taken notable strides as well. Now, the Falcons are banking on continued development over the coming years.
Right tackle Kaleb McGary is set to hit the open market, after he too worked as a full-time starter on the right side of the Falcons’ o-line. While his level of play hasn’t been at the level of Lindstrom, McGary is slated to be one of a few RTs in line for a considerable deal in the coming days. Regardless of if Atlanta can retain the latter, they now have Lindstrom on the books as the anchor of their offensive front for the long-term future.