The Cleveland Browns recently crushed the Atlanta Falcons’ hopes and dreams of bringing Deshaun Watson home this offseason by offering both Watson and the Houston Texans an offer that they couldn’t refuse.
But now, Bleacher Report has the brown and orange making a deal with the Falcons in a suggested trade proposal.
In the proposal, B/R’s Ian Wharton sends Atlanta’s Pro Bowl defensive tackle Grady Jarrett to Cleveland, leaving the Falcons with a 2022 late third-round pick (pick No. 99) and a 2023 third-round pick in return.
Wharton notes that the Browns are in a “win now” situation for the 2022 season and now that they have a QB, their next biggest need is at the defensive tackle position.
“Their most pressing hole is at defensive tackle, as the rotation of Taven Bryan, Jordan Elliott and Tommy Togiai lacks reliability,” Wharton writes. “Calling the rebuilding Falcons about soon-to-be 29-year-old tackle Grady Jarrett can be mutually beneficial.”
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Trading Jarrett Would Free Up a Chunk of Cap Space
Even with Matt Ryan out the door and Calvin Ridley suspended next season, the Falcons’ salary cap situation is still in a rut. According to Over the Cap, the Falcons currently sit at $3.8 million above next season’s cap of $208.1 million.
Atlanta’s going to need to keep making some big moves to free up space in order to sign some more free-agent help, plus their 2022 rookie class. Trading Jarrett, who is scheduled to count $23.8 million against the cap, could be an avenue they might want to consider.
Wharton notes that “Getting two middle-round picks and shedding Jarrett’s $23.8 million salary-cap hit in the final year of his deal would free up $16.5 million.”
As for Cleveland, Wharton adds that the Browns will need to make room some room for him and can do so by trading Baker Mayfield and extending the contracts of David Njoku and Denzel Ward.
But is it all worth it––contract extensions that could hurt them in the future, giving up two third-round picks, plus taking on a $16.5m cap hit for a 29-year-old defensive tackle?
Wharton sums up the proposed trade with this: “His addition could give the Browns the league’s best overall roster.”
The Falcons Are Pushing to Keep Grady
Franchise owner Arthur Blank appeared on Atlanta’s 92.9 The Game’s Dukes and Bell show in March 2022 where he discussed Grady’s future with the team.
“Absolutely, we love Grady. He’s a great leader, great player. Grady makes the whole thing better,” Blank said. “So, we’re working hard to try and make that happen.
“But we’re also being thoughtful about it because you don’t want to put yourself back into the same situation that we just got out of [Matt Ryan’s massive cap hits]. But we love Grady.”
Jarrett will turn 29 at the start of the 2022 season and it’s possible that he could be looking in the direction of another team that isn’t in the process of a full rebuild as he enters his 30s.
The Falcons went out of their way to select Jarrett in the 2015 NFL Draft.
In order to snag the Clemson product, the Falcons traded two draft picks to the Minnesota Vikings to move up in the third round. As a rookie, Jarrett saw action in 15 games and finished the season with 24 tackles, four tackles for loss, two quarterback hits, and one sack.
The following year, Jarrett played all 16 games, starting 14. He ended the 2016 season with 48 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, nine quarterback hits, and three sacks. He also played a big part in the Falcons’ Super Bowl LI trip and Jarrett sacked Tom Brady three times to tie th record for most sacks in a single Super Bowl game.
He started all 16 games again in 2017, logging a career-high 55 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 13 quarterback hits, and four sacks. Jarrett managed to top those numbers in 2018 and finished the season with career-highs in both sacks and forced fumbles, with 6 and 3.
Ahead of the 2019 season, Atlanta placed the franchise tag on Jarrett and he signed a four-year, $68 million contract extension, which lingers today. Jarrett logged his best year yet with a career-high 7.5 sacks and 69 tackles, along with 11 tackles for loss and 2 forced fumbles. He was also invited to his first Prop Bowl and named second-team All-Pro. He then earned his second Pro Bowl in 2020 after finishing the season recording four more sacks and 52 tackles.
Jarrett managed just one sack last season with 59 combined tackles, 12 quarterback hits and a fumble recovery. While his sack production declined under new defensive coordinator Dean Pees, Jarrett still remains a valuable asset to the Falcons’ young defense and trading him away, rather than extending him, would mean finding an equivalent replacement which, again, might be hard to do with the team’s cap situation.
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