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Falcons place franchise tag on Grady Jarrett

The Atlanta Falcons had one of the more disappointing seasons in the NFL in 2018. After back-to-back years as one of the top teams in the NFC, they collapsed and finished 7-9. They fired both coordinators this offseason and will look quite different next season.

One thing that’s staying the same is the presence of Grady Jarrett on the defensive line. The Falcons are franchise-tagging the star defensive tackle, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. The move isn’t a surprise: The team has consistently said it wasn’t planning on letting Jarrett walk.

General manager Thomas Dimitroff has said the Falcons want to get a new contract done with Jarrett, but a report from Sunday said the two sides were still “far apart” on a long-term deal. Jarrett is one of the top interior defensive linemen in the league. He will once again anchor the Falcons’ defense in 2019. He earned a stellar 91.0 grade from Pro Football Focus last season, which was fifth among all defensive linemen.

Jarrett was scooped up by Atlanta in the fifth round of the 2015 draft, and is one of the biggest steals in recent draft history. The Clemson product is still only 25, and should be entering the prime of his career. He’s an excellent run-stuffer who can swallow up blocks, and an excellent asset for Atlanta as it retools its defense.

The rest of the Falcons’ defense collapsed last season and was one of the worst units in the league. Jarrett was one of few consistent pieces on the roster, and he thrived with very little help along the defensive front. The franchise tag will pay him just north of $15 million next year if he can’t come to a long-term agreement with the team.