Falcons 'probably have to cut someone,' Schraeder comes to mind

Jason Butt, from The Athletic, says dominoes may fall with Falcons tagging Jarrett...

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March 05, 2019 - 12:35 pm

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As the NFL franchise tag continues to cause consternation amongst teams, players and fans, from an Atlanta Falcons perspective we now know what's the case with defensive tackle Grady Jarrett. 

With the team placing the franchise tag on him Monday afternoon, they now hope to reach agreement on a long-term contract that's acceptable to both parties. But as The Athletic's Jason Butt told John Fricke and Bryant McFadden on 92-9 The Game's The Morning Show Tuesday, it could take a little time for things to work themselves out.

On Jarrett’s tag and what it means going forward...

“For the short term, it’s a formality, said Butt. "It’s a way for the Falcons to keep negotiating. He was never going to be a free agent this year. Now, the next step is, they have to get a deal done. Thomas Dimitroff says they feel good about the way things stand money-wise.  But to have a guy at $15.2M combined with Vic Beasley at $12.8M and combined with Desmond Trufant at his cap number, they will have to get creative.  And a lot of that starts with reducing this year's number for Grady with a long-term deal."

Do you know what Grady may be looking for?

“The word on the street in Indianapolis, what that’s he definitely wants a number close to Aaron Donald, and I don’t blame him," said Butt. "I think that's Todd France (Jarrett's CAA agent) doing his job.  If you're an agent, you're going to try to get the best deal for your client. For now, they’re not close. But as time goes, they're going to have to. Todd France does have a history of letting things go until the 11th hour, and I think that's what will happen with Grady Jarrett.  Both sides have a number, but they’re going to take it down until they think they have what's best from their respective ends."

And then there’s the Julio Jones' situation, as Butt points out. He's up for renegotiation as promised by the franchise. Jones is one of several guys represented by Creative Artists Agency.

“And I think that's what's lost in the conversation with Vic Beasley," said Butt. A lot of fans were upset that Vic Beasley was coming back on that fifth year option at $12.8M.  He's in that same group.  And Jimmy Sexton of CAA represents Julio (Jones)  He's a CAA guy.  Matt Ryan's a CAA guy, and it so happens CAA has a lot of guys on the roster.

“One thing I do want to point out is that Thomas Dimitroff does have the philosophy not to ask guys to take pay cuts.  He's going to avoid that at all costs.  What is going to do, cut Vic Beasley and risk that relationship (with CAA)?  That’s something that was overlooked by a lot of us.  And that probably caused a little unforeseen problem that the Falcons, whether they would like to admit or not."

Are we looking at significant roster reductions?

“They will probably have to cut someone," said Butt. "Ryan Schraeder is the guy that comes to mind; he lost his job. That's $4 million right there. I think it would be very unpopular to go the Mohamed Sanu route, but from a sheer cap number, money perspective, if it came to it, they would have to think long and hard about it. For a money perspective, Ryan Schraeder, he's somebody in most danger of not being on the roster next year based on the way things stand right now."

Where is Vic Beasley now in terms of being that elite player the Falcons want him to be?

“It’s essentially a one-year deal, said Butt. "There’s no future investment, so if they can't get enough out of him, they can let him go and there’s no dead money on the books.  Dan Quinn is confident that he can get a lot of him.  He's done it before.  He obviously got a lot out of him in 2016.  I think the role moving forward is to put him in situations to just rush the quarterback.  In three out of the four years, he hasn’t had the production you’d think out of a top eight pick.”

What will the Falcons do in the draft now that the combine’s over?

“They can definitely move up, it just depends on who's there," said Butt. "Anything’s on the table.  Defensive line – one with pass rushing ability – cornerback and offensive line, you can see them going in that direction.  Cody Ford, and a plethora of offensive line.  It’s going to depend who's on that line, and the best player available.  Those are the three positions I'd hone in on."