Source: Jarrett, Falcons not close to deal
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D. Orlando Ledbetter
dledbetter@ajc.com
INDIANAPOLIS - The Falcons are not close to reaching a new contract deal with defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, according to a source with knowledge of the negotiations.

However, the Falcons remain optimistic a deal can get done.

“We’re working diligently on Grady Jarrett,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. “That is our focus and will continue to be our focus right now. I’m confident that is going to get done.


“We feel very confident about that.”

In order to retain Jarrett’s rights and block him from becoming an unrestricted free agent when the new league year starts March 13, the Falcons will have to place the franchise tag on Jarrett. They have a Tuesday deadline.

The franchise tag price for defensive tackles is set at $15,209 million. That would gobble up most of the Falcons’ $22.3 million under the cap heading into the free agency.

The salary cap for the 2019 season was set at $188.2 million.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn said the team will consider using the franchise tag on Jarrett if the two sides cannot reach a new deal.

“I would say it’s definitely on the table to discuss really thoroughly, but we’ll have to wait until to then to see if a deal can be done first,” Quinn said on Wednesday at the NFL scouting combine.

The franchise tag for defensive tackles was $13,615 million last season.

“The good news is ... that our team and Grady’s team can have good conversations about things that hopefully we can keep working towards some common ground that would be right for both sides,” Quinn said. “Until, we’ll take all of the time that both sides need. Both sides know that he’s a really important piece.”

Jarrett’s value is very high after a stellar four years after he was selected in the fifth round of the 2015 draft.

OverTheCap.com and ProFootballFocus.com have projected that Jarrett is worth a five-year, $82.5 million deal with $46 million guaranteed. Spotrac has a lower, five-year, $76.2 million projection.

Jarrett had 52 tackles, six sacks, 16 quarterback hits, three forced fumbles and eight tackles for loss last season. Jarrett’s rookie contract was a four-year, $2,527 million deal in 2015.

Schaub to return: The Falcons announced Saturday that quarterback Matt Schaub agreed to terms on a two-year contract extension.

Schaub was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next week, but he said in December he preferred to remain with the Falcons.

“I love the game, still think I can do it, so I would love to keep playing,” Schaub said in the week leading to the Falcons’ season finale at Tampa Bay.

“I love this organization, and I would love to see if they want me back here,” he said. “We’ll see what happens when the season is over, assess the situation and think about it, talk with my wife and see where things go.”

In his second stint with the team, Schaub hasn’t seen much playing time. He appeared in four games in 2016, none in' 17 and three this past season. He completed 6 of 10 passes in that time for 36 yards.