Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones’ OTAs absence as he awaits an adjustment to his contract grabbed headlines this week. But while Jones was away from the facility in Flowery Branch, Georgia, one Falcons player who was present is looking for a new deal as well.
Falcons free safety Ricardo Allen was at organized team activities despite not having signed the second-round tender the Falcons have offered him. Allen, who is entering the fifth season of his NFL career, is slated to make $2.914 million if the restricted free agent signs.
Instead, the 26-year-old is hoping to agree to a long-term deal with the only NFL franchise he’s ever played for.
“I have a tender,” Allen told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I haven’t signed it yet. That’s what you all hope for [a long-term contract].”
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In his four seasons with the Falcons, the team’s fifth-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft has played in 46 games. The Purdue alum has six career interceptions with 158 tackles and 10 deflected passes.
Allen played 15 games for the Falcons in 2017 as the team’s free safety. He recorded 38 tackles and had one interception on an Atlanta defense that was fifth in the league in passing yards allowed.
Allen made $615,000 as an exclusive rights free agent last season.
If the Falcons sign Allen to a long-term deal, he would become another piece of the Falcons secondary secured for the future. Cornerback Desmond Trufant signed a five-year, $68.75 million extension before last season, while fellow corner Robert Alford agreed to a four-year, $38 million the prior year.
Atlanta has a number of high-priority players it wants to sign for the future such as offensive lineman Jake Matthews and defensive tackle Grady Jarrett. According to what general manager Thomas Dimitroff said in February, that doesn’t mean a deal with Allen can’t get done.
“Yes, I believe we can create space for Rico and a number of other players,” Dimitroff told ESPN in February. “That said, we are always striving for creativity. And decisions made on certain free agents, whether they be restricted or unrestricted, oftentimes are contingent on the creativity they enable or not.”