179 tackles and 14 sacks in just four seasons??? For a defensive tackle drafted in the 5th round??? Grady Jarrett has exceeded all expectations for the Falcons since he was drafted from Clemson in 2015, and has arguably been more productive than their first round pick that year, Vic Beasley.
This is an interesting off-season for the Falcons, as they have the unique opportunity to rebuild both the offensive and defensive line. As of right now, only two players on the defensive line are under contract in 2019 (Takkarist McKinley and Vic Beasley).
We all know that the chances of Vic Beasley being cut before the March deadline is very high, considering he will be owed $12.8M in 2019.
There is no question that Jarrett is the heart of the Falcons defensive line, and in late September of last season when he missed a few games, the run defense struggled mightily. The Falcons ranked near last in the league in run defense in 2018, and without Grady Jarrett there, it would have been way worse.
Some say Jarrett is undersized for a defensive tackle, which is partly true. But, with a complementary tackle that is bigger and can plug the holes in the run game, Jarrett will be able to shine even more in 2019.
General manager Thomas Dimitroff has stated that the team wants to re-sign Jarrett this offseason, and with some of the moves they have made in the last week with cutting some guys to free up cap room, it seems as if the team is making all efforts to make sure a deal is done soon.
Here’s the kicker, all cap experts around the league are projecting that Jarrett will want a contract around 5 years/$87.5M this offseason. And in that contract, expect about $40M to be guaranteed at least.
Jarrett is represented by Fletcher Cox’s agency, the Eagles’ star defensive tackle. Jarrett knows his worth to this team, and will demand a big contract.
He has earned a big contract, and if the Falcons do not re-sign him and let him hit the free agent market, there will undoubtedly be many suitors for a player of Jarrett’s caliber. The Falcons roughly have around $40M of cap room as of right now, and they are definitely not done making moves to free up even more space.
Let me just throw a hypothetical out there. If the Falcons re-sign Jarrett this off-season and sign a player like Gerald McCoy in free agency to complement him in the trenches, that would automatically contend with the likes of the Donald and Suh combination in LA.
Expect the Falcons to draft at least a couple defensive tackles in the opening rounds of the 2019 draft as well.
Grady Jarrett is a rising star in this league, and will be paid like one this off-season. The Falcons will get a deal done soon; I have no doubt about that. However, if they don’t, this defense will be in big trouble in 2019.
Jarrett is the one piece of the defensive line that keeps it all together for Atlanta.