The Atlanta Falcons kicked off the 2019 offseason by placing the franchise tag on defensive tackle Grady Jarrett. According to Will Brison of CBS Sports, the Falcons and Grady Jarrett are far apart on terms of a new contract. He also believes there is a good chance that Grady will hold out if he doesn’t receive the long-term contract that he desires. Take a look at the article for yourself here.
Now that Grady Jarrett is under the franchise tag, he will command a salary of 15.57 million dollars. The entirety of the his 2019 salary will count against the Atlanta Falcons cap, should the team be unable to work out a long deal with Jarrett. This is problematic for the team, as it will restrict the front office’s ability to sign a high level free agent.
The contract extension that star quarterback Matt Ryan signed last offseason kicks in this year. His cap number was scheduled increase from 17.7 million in 2018, to 22.8 million in 2019. However just recently, Matt Ryan adjusted his contact to receive more of his money up front in a signing bonus. This move saved the Falcons seven million dollars.
The Atlanta Falcons also cut former starting right tackle Ryan Schraeder. Schraeder who played college ball at Valdosta State University in South Georgia, lost his starting job to Ty Sambrailo late last season. He was cut with a post June 1 designation, allowing Atlanta to save nearly 6.5 million dollars in cap space. Atlanta has used the savings from the aforementioned moves, to shore up a few spots on the offensive side of the roster. Guards James Carpenter and Jamon Brown are the most notable players signed in free agency. They certainly add size to the team, but I questioned rather they are truly an upgrade performance wise in this article.
Backup tight end Luke Stocker is another addition to the offense. He adds versatility with the ability to double as a full back. Kit Anderson of Atl All Day covered the signing here. Kejon Barner adds speed and depth at the running back position and gives the Dirty Birds another option in the return game. Additionally the Falcons resigned their own incumbent free agents, such as right tackle Ty Sambrailo, wide receiver Justin Hardy, tight end Logan Paulsen and quarterback Matt Schaub.
Defensively the Atlanta Falcons have not done much, besides retaining a couple their own free agents. The team has resigned defensive end Steven Means and linebacker Bruce Carter. They also decided to honor the 12.8 million dollar fifth year option on edge rusher Vic Beasley, a move I called a mistake in this article. Paying Beasley is the other major reason Atlanta is struggling to find cap space this offseason. The return of injured players such as free safety Ricardo Allen and strong safety Keanu Neal, along with a full season of Deion Jones should help the Dirty Birds defense return to top ten form, despite the lack in free agent reinforcements.