ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons have been dealt a huge blow on the defensive side, losing tackle Grady Jarrett for the rest of the season with a knee injury.
The 30-year-old Jarrett tore an ACL during the early minutes of a 28-23 loss to the Tennessee Titans, coach Arthur Smith said Monday. He didn't specify which knee was injured.
A two-time Pro Bowler, Jarrett has started every game for the Falcons since 2018 and was the undisputed leader of a defense that underwent a major overhaul this season. His injury leaves a huge gap in the middle of the line.
“When you lose a guy like Grady, who's been such a good leader for us and a great player, it’s unfortunate," Smith said.
When it comes to replacing Jarrett, the coach added, “It's not gonna take one person to do it. We've gotta problem solve and continue to evaluate that.”
The Falcons quickly worked to bolster their depth up front by acquiring defensive lineman Kentavius Street and a 2025 seventh-round pick from the Philadelphia Eagles for a 2024 sixth-round pick.
Street was a fourth-round pick in 2018 by the San Francisco 49ers, who also has played with New Orleans, compiling 13 quarterback hits, 6 1/2 sacks and one forced fumble in 59 games.
This season, Street has appeared in seven games with one start for Eagles. He has three tackles and one quarterback pressure.
Jarrett was having another productive season with 23 tackles, 1 1/2 sacks, eight quarterback hits and two passes broken up.
The Falcons do appear better equipped at dealing with Jarrett’s loss than they would have in previous seasons after spending heavily in free agency during the offseason.
Linemen such as David Onyemata should help cushion the loss, though no one is capable of fully replacing Jarrett’s dominating presence. Another possibility is moving defensive end Calais Campbell to an interior spot to help plug the hole.
“All options are on the table right now," Smith said. "We've got to be creative if we have to. It’s our job to do that.”
A fifth-round pick out of Clemson in 2015, Jarrett became a full-time starter during the Falcons' run to the Super Bowl during his second season. He had three sacks of New England's Tom Brady in the title game, but his performance was overshadowed by the Patriots rallying from a 28-3 deficit to win in overtime.
After a season of good fortune, the injury bug finally caught up with the Falcons at Tennessee.
Wide receiver Drake London (groin), fullback Keith Smith (concussion), defensive lineman LaCale London (knee) and cornerback Mike Hughes (concussion) also were hurt against the Titans.
Smith got a promising report on London's injury, which apparently won't be a long-term issue.
“Drake is not as bad as we thought,” the coach said.
Smith was asked about possible trades amid reports that the Falcons also were interested in Montez Sweat, Washington's standout defensive lineman. The NFL's trade deadline is Tuesday afternoon.
“It's our job to listen to everything,” Smith said. “We'll never turn our phone off.”
Tied for first in the NFC South, the Falcons (4-4) host the Minnesota Vikings (4-4) next Sunday.
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