NFL News & Analysis

Inside the Grady Jarrett extension

Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons defensive end Grady Jarrett (97) reacts with New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan (94) (not shown) on the field after the game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons and standout interior defender Grady Jarrett have agreed to terms on a three-year, $49.5 million extension, which includes incentives that could push the total value to $51 million.

The $1.5 million in incentives can be earned if the star defensive lineman reaches the Pro Bowl.

Jarrett's $16.5 million per year average now ranks ninth at the position, and he will receive $34.5 million fully guaranteed at signing — a very strong figure representing nearly 70% of the base value of the new money in the extension.

Per a source with knowledge of the terms, the contract details are as follows:

  • Signing bonus: $16.5 million
  • 2022 base salary: $1,470,588, fully guaranteed at signing
  • 2023 base salary: $16,500,000, fully guaranteed at signing
  • 2024 base salary: $15,250,000
  • 2024 roster bonus: $1,000,000, due on the fifth day of the league year
  • 2024 Pro Bowl escalator: $750,000
  • 2025 base salary: $15,250,000
  • 2025 roster bonus: $1,000,000, due on the fifth day of the league year
  • 2025 Pro Bowl escalator: $750,000

Before the extension, Jarrett was owed a $16.5 million 2022 base salary. Now, he'll effectively carry that value forward over four years.

An “additional game check” worth  $970,588 — pursuant to CBA Article 26, Section 1(c) — is also accounted for as “old money” in the deal, an important detail that is often overlooked.

Jarrett’s 2022 cap hit was set to be $23.833 million, but that will now be reduced significantly to clear cap space for the Falcons, who were operating with less than $5 million and needed to clear room for their new rookie class.

Jarrett’s deal is strong compared to other recently extended interior defenders aged 29 or older. Here’s how he stacks up on the field and at the bank with similar players:

Player Two-year PFF grade before contract Pass rush win rate* Total quarterback pressures* Defensive stops* Contract
Grady Jarrett 76.3 12.9% 93 59 3 / $49.5M ($16.5M APY), $34.5M fully gtd
Cam Heyward 91.1 15% 119 73 4 / $65.5M ($16.4M APY), $20.25M fully gtd
Fletcher Cox 72.3 13.2% 84 43 1 / $14M fully gtd

*All stats two years prior to contract

The next man up for an extension among veteran interior defenders is Los Angeles Rams great Aaron Donald, who will look to push the position market to new heights. His $22.5 million per year deal signed in 2018 remains the top contract among his peers, and he’ll look to surpass himself four years later — a feat only accomplished by future first-ballot Hall of Famers like Donald.

The Falcons added Penn State edge defender Arnold Ebiketie at the top of the second round in the 2022 NFL Draft. Now he can get to work terrorizing opposing quarterbacks alongside Jarrett for years to come.

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