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Arthur Blank: Julio Jones will be in Atlanta forever, everything “will be fine”

We certainly hope he’s right.

Carolina Panthers v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Inevitably, any talk of an adjusted, updated, or extended contract creates some angst in the fanbase and plenty of interest from local and national media. We chewed up months talking about Matt Ryan’s extension, what it might look like, and what we thought he deserved, so inevitably reports about Julio Jones wanting an adjusted contract has fueled a fire that’s going to burn for weeks.

The good news? No one associated with the team is showing any public concern, at the very least, and we haven’t seen Julio come out and express any dissatisfaction with the team. While it’s possible this could turn into A Thing—you never rule that out when you’re talking about contracts—Falcons owner Arthur Blank had some soothing words on Tuesday.

“I love Julio. He loves me. He loves Atlanta. He’s going to be here forever,” says Blank, the Falcons’ longtime owner.

As for a new or ‘updated’ contract, Blank kept it simple: “We’ll talk to him directly about that, and that’s between us and him. We’ve always treated our players respectively, competitively and done whatever we have to do to make a winning team on the field.”

The Falcons are not going to even consider moving Julio, and while there’s the matter of a slippery slope involved with re-negotiating a contract owed to a player with three years left on his deal, one has to think they’ll try to find a good solution to keep Julio happy and perhaps extend his contract even further. Blank knows that Julio, a marketable superstar with elite skills and production (minus, you’ll quickly note to me, touchdowns) is worth an awful lot to this franchise, and he’s one of the league’s truly iconic players. The team has no interest in this turning into a big production, and will do their best to keep things quiet and lowkey.

Julio is one of the two or three best receivers in the NFL, and his current contract will see him dropping out of the top ten in compensation soon. There are no bad guys here—not the Falcons for carefully considering the cap implications of any updates, not Julio for wanting more money and more security—and a handful of missed OTA days are not a reason to consider this a crisis. If this drags into the summer and gets louder and more public, of course, that changes.

In other good news, it sounds like Julio’s planning on showing up for mandatory minicamp, a sign that this really isn’t going to morph into a protracted holdout with all the ugliness that implies. It’ll still be worth closely watching this situation to see what the team and Julio can work out, and I do expect them to work something out.