The draft is over, and Julio Jones is the next major priority for this Falcons team, per anyone who follows this team.
Draft concluded, Falcons can now turn attention to long-term deal for Julio Jones. http://t.co/uCvNQh90Ze
— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) May 4, 2015
McClure gets Thomas Dimitroff to point to Julio as the team's focus in the near term, and while the Comrade is typically vague on the details, it's clear the Falcons will be talking contract extension with the gifted wide receiver. Currently, Jones' deal will pay him over $10 million in 2015, and then his contract expires. I don't have to tell you that his price would spike if he reached the open market heading into 2016.
"There is no question that our focus in the future will be on Julio Jones and where we are," Dimitroff told ESPN.com. "I don't want to get into specifics about the timing of that, obviously. But now that the draft is over and we continue to build this football team, we understand that Julio is a very important part of our building and evolving as a championship-type team."
Determining the total dollar value, years and structure of the contract won't be easy, per se, but Jones is in the Calvin Johnson stratosphere as far as production and talent goes. His injury history is the only thing that might put a dent in his deal, but chances are he'll still be one of the most well-paid receivers in the NFL after he gets his new deal, if not the highest-paid.
The Falcons are still sitting on plenty of cap space, so they can afford to take a major hit up-front on this deal, assuming Jones and his agent are okay with that. That would allow them to mitigate the cap hit in future years, something the team will definitely need to do to keep space open for players like Jake Matthews and Desmond Trufant, should they play at a high level going forward and stick with the team.
Your thoughts on a Julio extension?