Jarrett's consent to the franchise tag all but guarantees he'll remain in Atlanta for 2019, but the Falcons' brass appears intent on extending a lucrative multi-year contract to the emerging defensive star before the July 15 deadline. This objective is evidenced by general manager Thomas Dimitroff saying back in March, "Our aim is for (Jarrett) to be an integral part of our plan for many years to come and this allows us to extend our negotiating window." A versatile contributor with 23 tackles for loss and 29 quarterback hits over the past two seasons, Jarrett currently ranks as the NFL's fifth-best interior defensive lineman, per Pro Football Focus. His continued success will be essential to helping Atlanta improve upon a 25th-place finish in rush defense during 2018.
Jarrett was not in attendance for the start of voluntary team workouts Monday, D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Atlanta elected to apply a $15.2 million franchise tag to Jarrett earlier this offseason, but there remains optimism that the two sides can agree on a long-term extension prior to the July 15 deadline. Falcons owner Arthur Blank has stated that it is the team's intention for Jarrett to remain in Atlanta for the entirety of his professional playing career, but a high bar has been set for the terms of a new contract given that Cowboys defensive lineman DeMarcus Lawrence inked a five-year, $105 million deal in early April. Jarrett's new deal is projected to be valued in a similar range to that of Lawrence, given his elite production over the past two seasons and the fact that he will still be just 26 years old when the season kicks off in September. With 52 combined tackles and six sacks in 2018, Jarrett ranked as the NFL's fifth-best interior defensive lineman, according to Pro Football Focus.
The Falcons' decision to apply the franchise tag to Jarrett prevents him from hitting free agency in March, and allows both sides more time to negotiate towards a long-term agreement. If Jarrett and the Falcons are unable to reach agreeable terms by July 15, Jarrett will play under a one-year deal for 2019 with his salary expected to land around $15.2 million. Jarrett flashed as one of the most disruptive defensive tackles in the NFL last season, logging 52 tackles (27 solo), six sacks and three forced fumbles across 14 games.
Head coach Dan Quinn said Jarrett is a candidate for the franchise tag, Jason Butt of The Athletic reports.
The deadline to reach a new deal with Jarrett is next Tuesday, so Atlanta could use the franchise tag in part as a means to provide more time for both parties to reach a long-term agreement. For someone who had only two fewer quarterback hits in 2018 than perennial All-Pro linebacker Khalil Mack -- doing it from the interior, too -- Jarrett's contract status will be one of Atlanta's most important topics of the offseason.
Jarrett continues to emerge as one of the NFL's most disruptive defensive tackles, collecting 52 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles in 2018, his fourth pro campaign. He established himself as a fearsome run stopper in 2017 by leading all interior defensive linemen with 16 tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage (per Pro Football Focus), but this year he flashed talent as a pass rusher as well by finishing second on the team with six sacks. With his contract set to expire over the offseason, Atlanta seems determined to reach amicable terms with its young defensive stalwart.
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