The Atlanta Falcons have finally achieved one of their main offseason goals.
The franchise and starting defensive tackle Grady Jarrett have reached agreement on a four year contract just before the league deadline on Monday, the team announced in a statement.
Jarrett will receive $68 million in total, according to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
News of the agreement between the two sides comes hours after reports had hinted that there was hope Jarrett would sign a new, long term contract before the deadline.
Jarrett is set to earn an average of $17 million per year, ranking him third among NFL defensive tackles in terms of annual pay, behind Fletcher Cox and Aaron Donald.
Still just 26 years old, Jarrett has the potential to earn another long term deal with Atlanta if he can maintain his current standard of play on the defensive interior.
The Falcons have nine veteran players under contract for at least three more seasons: Jarrett, quarterback Matt Ryan, offensive tackle Jake Matthews, running back Devonta Freeman, cornerback Desmond Trufant, safety Ricardo Allen, guard Jamon Brown, and guard James Carpenter.
Early this offseason, the Falcons were able to sign the former free agent to a franchise tag, but the two sides still had until 4:00 pm EST on July 15 to come to a long term agreement.
Now with Jarrett under contract, the Falcons are expected to target wide receiver Julio Jones and linebacker Deion Jones, both of whom are expecting new contracts in the future.
Early in the offseason, there was a report that the Falcons and Jarrett were “not in the same ball park” when it came to discussing terms, and had they still been far apart in terms of numbers, then the team would elect to apply the franchise tag, as they did.
“As we have said since the end of the season, getting a deal done with Grady is our priority,” general manager Thomas Dimitroff said in a statement after Jarrett was tagged.
“Applying the franchise tag to him does not change that in any way. Our aim is for Grady to be an integral part of our plan for many years to come and this allows us to extend our negotiating window.”
Dimitroff and the Falcons used almost every minute of that window, coming to the agreement a little more than an hour before it was set to close.
Jarrett has set the tone for the team’s defensive line since his arrival: he’s tied for a record after sacking Tom Brady three times in Super Bowl LI, last season led all players at his position in tackles for loss, and had career bests in sacks (6) and quarterback hits (16) in 2018.
“We’ve had conversations, a number of conversations,” Dimitroff said. “We’re confident he’s going to be here for years to come.”
In his NFL career, Jarrett has 179 tackles, 40 quarterback hits, 31 tackles for a loss, and 14 sacks.