Falcons Agree to Extension With Pro Bowl LT: Report

Jake Matthews

Getty Jake Matthews #70 of the Atlanta Falcons.

The Atlanta Falcons continue to clear up cap space ahead of the new league year on March 16 and have extended left tackle Jake Matthew’s contract.

Per Ian Rapoport’s report on Monday, March 14, Atlanta and Matthews have agreed to a new deal that spreads out a total of $52.5M over the next three seasons, paying Matthews an average of $18.5M a year.

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Matthews Has Remained Reliable Since 2014

The Falcons originally drafted Matthews sixth overall out of Texas A&M in 2014. Since then, he’s remained a reliable offensive lineman, missing just one game during his rookie season due to a high ankle sprain injury.

Matthews quickly improved during his second year as an NFL player after he allowed just 38 QB pressures compared to the 51 he allowed in 2014. For his outstanding season, was named the third most improved player of 2015 by Pro Football Focus.

The following season, Matthews helped Atlanta reach Super Bowl LI. He played all offensive snaps, but it was not his best performance as he had two crucial holding penalties in the 34-28 loss to New England.

The Falcons still ended up picking up Matthews’ fifth-year option in 2017. He then signed a five-year, $75-million contract extension in 2018 and finished the season with his first Pro Bowl appearance.

Fast forward to 2021 and the 30-year-old enters his new deal after finishing last season with a 71.4 overall grade, per PFF.

Matthews may no longer be in his prime but he remains a valuable asset to Atlanta’s offensive line.

Falcons’ Salary Cap Game Plan

Last month, the Falcons sat roughly at $7.3 million (per, Spotrac) over an estimated salary cap total of $208 million, which meant GM Terry Fontenot and head coach Arthur Smith would need to team up to create more cap space.

Fontenot recently joined Audacy’s 92.9 The Game on The Midday Show with Andy & Randy where he discussed the Falcons’ offseason game plan to free up some money.

“We have [started the process] and I would say we are in a better position than we were last year, he said. “It’s improved and it will continue to improve as we move forward, but yes, we’re having several conversations whether we’re taking cuts, trades, extensions, restructures. We’re having several conversations about how we can manage the cap and open up some cap space so we can re-sign some of our players and look outside the building. We’re going to be patient in that process and make sure we’re going to be patient-selective, cost-effective.”

After saving $11 million due to Calvin Ridley’s suspension, Matt Ryan’s new restructured contract and Matthews’ extension, the Falcons are well underneath the cap space heading into the start of free agency.

Ryan’s New Contract Opens Up $12 Million

Before the Falcons did anything with Ryan’s contract, he had previously carried a historic cap hit of $48 million (per Spotrac) for the 2022 season.

Now, his new deal has given the Falcons some extra wiggle room, saving them $12 million bucks to sign other players.

Until the Matthews deal is officially updated on Spotrac, the Falcons are currently at $16,057,973 under the cap.



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