Thanks to increased cap space and greater spending on wide receivers, we have seen the same Julio Jones story for the past year. Jones, easily the best wide receiver in the NFL, saw his record-breaking contract eclipsed by countless of other pass catchers. He is currently 12th in average salary per year, sandwiched between Stefon Diggs and Allen Robinson.
Jones easily outplays pass catchers like Davante Adams, Jarvis Landry, and Sammy Watkins, but makes millions less than each.
The Falcons certainly want to get Jones an extension to keep him in Atlanta past 2020. Good teams don’t play hardball with their generational talent. Per Jeff Schultz of The Athletic, the Falcons are close to a new deal.
The Falcons and Julio Jones are not far apart on a new contract and a deal could be finalized in the next few weeks. @TheAthleticATL— Jeff Schultz (@JeffSchultzATL) April 18, 2019
The smart money is Jones becoming (again) the highest paid wide receiver in the league. Teams have been paying top players $16 million per year or more in the last few seasons, with Odell Beckham, Jr. as the top player averaging $18 million per year.
The extension, assuming it does indeed happen, should keep Jones in Atlanta until about 2023. The Falcons will probably wait until after the draft to get the finer points ironed out with Jones’ agent.