The Atlanta Falcons and defensive tackles Grady Jarrett beat the deadline. The two sides agreed to a four-year contract extension worth $68 million Monday afternoon. According to ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio, the new deal includes $42 million guaranteed and an $18 million signing bonus.
If an agreement hadn't been reached before Monday at 4 pm ET, Jarrett would have been forced to play on the franchise tag, and the two sides wouldn't have been able to reopen negotiations until the offseason. That would have been somewhat disastrous for the Falcons.
Alright, maybe that's a slight overstatement, but not by much. Other top defensive line contributors -- Vic Beasley, Adrian Clayborn, Jack Crawford and Tyeler Davison -- are all going to be free agents next offseason. If Jarrett joined that group, the Falcons would have possessed a huge hole at defensive line. As it is, it's probably the biggest need of all the position groups on the team.
Sure, the Falcons will probably still have to retool their defensive line before 2020, but after Monday, at least the organization knows Jarrett will be on the team at least through 2022.
This deal also opens up additional cap space. According to Spotrac.com, Jarrett will count as $11.75 million against the salary cap in 2019 instead of more than $15.209 million, which would have been his cost under the franchise tag. It's a little late in free agency for the Falcons to use it to sign a new player, but the team could use the space to re-sign either wide receiver Julio Jones or linebacker Deion Jones.
Last season, Jarrett posted 6.0 sacks, 52 combined tackles, eight tackles for loss and 16 quarterback hits. He has 14.0 sacks and 179 tackles in 61 games during his career.