Tender is first step toward longer-term deal for Falcons' Ricardo Allen

Falcons safety Ricardo Allen will be getting a big raise. Brett Davis/USA Today Sports

The Atlanta Falcons did the expected by placing a second-round tender on restricted free agent Ricardo Allen, a move likely to be a precursor to a longer-term deal for the starting free safety.

Allen will be on the roster next season, with the odds of a team surrendering a second-round draft to land a restricted free agent historically slim. The one-year, non-guaranteed tender has a value of $2.914 million, which would be Allen's cap number if he plays under the tender in 2018.

Allen, who made $615,000 last season, will receive a significant pay raise regardless. But the former fifth-round pick from Purdue would much rather sign a long-term deal for more financial security. And all indications are the Falcons want to lock Allen for years to come, but probably not until the start of training camp. Allen has developed into probably the surest tackler on the team while being the general of the defense.

"I think things stand good," Allen told ESPN at the end of last month. "I don't really know too much about the numbers and things like that right now. But the communication we've been having with the team -- and we've been talking back and forth -- and I've been getting some replies from coaches and my team, and it sounds like it's in a positive direction. ... Hopefully the Falcons are going to keep me around because this is where I want to be."

The Falcons also placed a second-round tender on offensive lineman Ben Garland, who they value as a backup and on special teams. The last time the Falcons handed out a pair of second-rounder tenders was with right tackle Ryan Schraeder and linebacker Paul Worrilow before the 2016 season. Schraeder signed his tender that offseason and then was rewarded with a five-year extension that took his average to $6.3 million per year and included $12.5 million guaranteed. Meanwhile, Worrilow played under the one-year, $2.553 million tender in '16 and then signed a free-agent contract with the Detroit Lions.

Allen should follow in the same path as Schraeder regarding an extension. His agent is Drew Rosenhaus, who is known for securing top deals for his clients. Rosenhaus negotiated a four-year, $32 million extension ($20.053 million guaranteed) for Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall after Marshall signed his restricted free agent tender in 2016.

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff admitted an extension for Allen is on the radar. However, the team's top priority is signing quarterback and 2016 MVP Matt Ryan to an extension. Ryan is entering the final year of his contract and is due $19.25 million in 2018. An extension could lower Ryan's current cap number of $21.65 million and create space to re-sign others such as Allen. The Falcons also will see some $3.5 million in cap relief on June 2 after designating tight end Levine Toilolo as a post-June 1 cut.

The Falcons already invested heavily in the secondary with extensions awarded to cornerbacks Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford. Trufant's cap number for this year is $12.9 million, while Alford's is $9.6 million.

Allen and nose tackle Grady Jarrett appear to be the next Falcons on the defensive side in line for big paydays.