The long offseason of waiting came to an end right before the league deadline when the Atlanta Falcons signed defensive tackle Grady Jarrett to a new contract.
Originally designated with the franchise tag as a free agent, the Falcons finally came to an agreement with Jarrett on a four year deal worth a reported $68 million.
Jarrett said that the new contract will not change how he approaches the game, noted that he still feels there’s room for him to get better as a player, and that he is “always hungry” regardless of how much he is set to earn in the coming years on his new deal.
“I’m always hungry for more,” Jarrett told 92.9 FM. “It’s not a greedy thing, it’s a thing of always wanting to continue to be better and always be at the top of your game. That’s what drives me.”
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.
“More than anything now, I’m motivated,” Jarrett said. “A lot of times guys get a big pay check and they go to chill [and] I just feel like it’s totally opposite. I just feel there’s so much out there for me and things that I want to accomplish that I haven’t accomplished yet. I’m just ready to go get it.”
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.
In his NFL career, Jarrett has 179 tackles, 40 quarterback hits, 31 tackles for a loss, and 14 sacks.
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.
Now after passing this contractual milestone, the Falcons are expected to target a pair of Jones’ in wide receiver Julio and middle linebacker Deion, two of their best players at their positions.
Julio Jones led the NFL in receiving yards last season and is expected to receive a long term offer before the start of the regular season and Deion Jones led the Falcons in tackles in his two full seasons and represents what the team believes is arguably their best defensive player overall.