Julio Jones has a credible case as the best receiver in football. Odell Beckham Jr. is younger and Antonio Brown has some utterly remarkable feats to draw on himself, but no one has ever averaged more yards per game than Julio and he’s on pace to finish among the ten or even five most productive players ever at his position.
All of that is to suggest that it’s no surprise he’s going to get paid, especially in an offseason when OBJ and AB have new teams and new money. Now Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman bleacherly reports that Julio and the Falcons are closing in on a new multi-year deal worth an annual average of $20 million per season. Honestly, that’s about as quick as I would’ve dared hope for.
Several realities underlie this new deal. It will be costly for the Falcons, obviously, but they’re also able to work with Julio to try and figure out a structure that gives them short-term cap flexibility and protection against injury, while Julio gets guaranteed money, the “biggest contract in football” at his position for at least a short time, and what may prove to be the final gargantuan contract of his career, unless he’s got unusual longevity to go with his unusual athleticism. Ideally, the new deal has something for everyone, including fans who are getting to watch the best receiver in franchise history ply his craft.
The most immediate consequence for the team ought to be a little extra cash this offseason, which I expect to translate into a small handful of the defensive signings we haven’t seen this offseason, including Kemal Ishmael (reported by Vaughn McClure at ESPN to be likely to return) and defensive line help for a thin unit.
Now we just wait to see whether Freeman’s report is accurate and a new deal is in the offing soon.