Grady Jarrett became one of the most high profile players in the NFL to receive the franchise tag designation this offseason after the Atlanta Falcons failed to get his name on a contract.
But that doesn’t mean the process is over just yet.
By tagging the defensive tackle, the Falcons are able to give themselves some more time to negotiate a new pact with the player, and, if not, keep him on the roster for the 2019 season.
According to league rules, the organization has until July 15 to sign Jarrett to the long term contract both sides want done. If they cannot, then Jarrett will play this season on the tag.
Still, by applying the franchise tag, the Falcons have constrained themselves somewhat.
The salary for defensive tackles playing on the franchise tag this season is $15.7 million, and the team is charged the same amount on the 2019 salary cap. By committing that much to one player, the Falcons have cut into the salary cap space they would have otherwise used on other free agents.
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 should they continue to be far apart in terms of numbers, then the team would elect to apply the franchise tag, as they did.
Jarrett becomes the first player the Falcons have franchised since cornerback Brent Grimes in 2012.
“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.”
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,” general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. “We still have a ways to go, of course, but again, 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.