It seems like yesterday that we were all hand-wringing about Julio Jones missing a bulk of the offseason training program as he tried to angle for a new deal.
The holdout eventually resolved itself when the team and Jones struck a short-term negotiation right before training camp, with an eye to address things further down the road. He then went on to have one of his best seasons, as anticipated.
It looks like down the road is right here, as the Atlanta Falcons and Jones are reportedly nearing a new contract, per ESPN’s Dianna Russini.
Sources with the Atlanta Falcons are confident that they will agree to a long term contract extension with Julio Jones before training camp. Jones has 2 years remaining on his current contract.— Dianna (@diannaESPN) June 18, 2019
The deal will very likely make Jones the highest-paid receiver in football, eclipsing Odell Beckham Jr.’s recent $18 million average deal in Cleveland and Antonio Brown’s recent $16 million average in Oakland, per Spotrac.
You don’t need me to tell you this, but Jones proves his worth week-in and week-out, and the offense typically suffers when he’s not in the lineup. He’s an essential member of this team and one of the best ever to wear a Falcons jersey. To know the deal is on its way is reassuring, and backs up owner Arthur Blank’s promise to get something done with Jones.
Though, the only hurdle to cross, ironically, comes with the player many try to say is a better receiver than Jones: Saints WR Michael Thomas.
Russini reports that the Saints are nearing a contract extension that could reset the market and that it could also be completed by training camp.
The archrivals now wait and see who blinks first and strikes the deal, with both players deserving and nearly assured to reach deals that jettison them to the top of the list.
We’ll see how it all shakes out as the summer progresses, and which receiver gets paid first. These deals will probably find conclusion pretty close to one another.
Regardless of who gets paid what and when, it’s a sincere comfort to know the Falcons are going to take care of Jones, and that it’s aiming to be resolved right around the start of key training camp practices.
We’re all for the idea of Jones being a Falcon for life, and it seems like the Falcons want to keep planning for that reality.