The Falcons are a team in serious transition. They have a new veteran quarterback and just drafted a young signal caller. They're shedding dead money in record amounts, eating all of it one season to get right with the salary cap and create the financial flexibility desired but unavailable in recent years.
We're seeing an infusion of youth as general manager Terry Fontenot and head coach Arthur Smith are relying more on draft picks from the last two seasons while trying to identify members of a young foundation. It's either that group or veterans here one year who may be gone the next while working on prove-it deals.
That's why this Grady Jarrett contract extension means so much. He's someone who will be around during this process, someone who can lead the unit and usher it toward what the Falcons hope is a new era of sustained success.
His longevity was ensured Tuesday morning when he agreed to terms on a three-year contract extension – he was already linked to the team for this upcoming season – that'll keep him in Atlanta through 2025.
It's reportedly worth $51 million over the four years remaining on the deal, with $32.47 million guaranteed at signing, per Pro Football Talk, most of that packed into the first two seasons. I mention the money here because it's a deal that pays Jarrett what he's worth yet frees up some cap space in 2022 and doesn't hamstring them in creating financial flexibility in a way that's sustainable. There are no time bombs in the future of this contract to be avoided or renegotiated at great cost to the team.
One more point on that: It shows a real commitment to someone the Falcons respect a great deal.
While Falcons brass complimented Jarrett at every turn, before during and after contract talks played out. The most flattering came from defensive coordinator Dean Pees during the 2021 campaign, where Jarrett was impactful without piling up massive stats.
"He's what all young players at the defensive line – all young players, period, on defense – that's what I should aspire to be like, that guy."
That one sentence says so much. It speaks to Jarrett's talent, his production, his work ethic and his leadership.
Before heading into the 2020 NFL year, we are going to look back at the best images from players on the active roster. Take a look at the best of defensive tackle Grady Jarrett.
This is a guy who remains impactful despite getting double- and sometimes triple-teamed. This is a guy, a Conyers, Ga. native, who is constantly and consistently active in the community. This is a guy who holds film sessions with his position group outside all regularly scheduled meetings. This is a guy who studies, who will share trade secrets, who will motivate with positivity to help his teammates.
This is a guy who is a captain in every sense of the word.
This is a guy you need while going through a transition period, someone to set the tone in practice, game prep and play. He'll be the standard bearer for the Falcons as we move forward, a responsibility he has always welcomed with open arms.
He's they type who, on the field and off, makes the Falcons around him better. That's worth a ton to this franchise at this current time, as they try to regain the high level of competitiveness lost in recent years.