We’ve been under a constant barrage of news about Julio Jones’ contract situation since he announced that he would not be reporting to training camp. There’s been plenty of rampant speculation about when Julio plans to return, and whether or not there is a chance for his contract to be reworked. Some have even posited that Julio might be willing to sit out regular season games, though we all hope it never comes to that.
Some positive news has surfaced, courtesy of NFL Network’s Tiffany Blackmon:
Spoke w/ Falcons team source. They are “hopeful” to get something done with Julio. Important to note that the two sides have been talking about the contract for a while now- not just recently, and have both expressed their concerns. Each sees the other’s point of view.— Tiffany Blackmon (@tiffblackmon) July 25, 2018
The language is intentionally vague, but the fact that someone in the organization is feeling “hopeful” is a good sign. It’s important for both sides to remain in contact, which is apparently still happening. If the Falcons understand Julio’s contract desires, and Julio understands the team’s salary cap and team-building constraints, there might just be a chance for some kind of creative deal to take place.
I’m unsure of what exactly the Falcons could do to placate Jones. Perhaps they could add some incentives to Jones’ deal, or guarantee a portion of his 2019 salary for injury. Neither would be likely to add much to Atlanta’s 2018 cap, and the added security and/or earning potential might be just enough to get Jones on the field. Hopefully, this coupled with the team’s assurances that Jones will be taken care of financially in 2019 will be enough to end the holdout.
There’s no timeline mentioned in the tweet, so I wouldn’t expect any resolution immediately. Ideally, the two sides would come to some sort of an arrangement soon. My guess would be that the Falcons are targeting a return for Julio before the first preseason game, but it could be sooner or even later depending on the state of the negotiations.
What are your thoughts on this report? Does this make you feel any better about Julio’s contract situation? When do you expect the deal, whatever it is, to be completed?