We’re less than a week from the first game of the 2019 season, and Falcons star wideout Julio Jones is still waiting on his new deal. Falcons owner Arthur Blank is expecting that to change in the very near future.
Blank told The Athletic that the team and Julio are “very, very close” to a new deal and that he’d be “surprised and disappointed if we didn’t get it done this week,” according to Jeff Schultz.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank told the @TheAthleticATL that the team and Julio Jones are “very, very close” to a deal and, “I’d be surprised and disappointed if we didn’t get it done this week. ... I think it’s very reasonable to assume it will get done this week.”— Jeff Schultz (@JeffSchultzATL) September 3, 2019
This comes on the heels of speculation that Jones may choose to sit out Week 1 if a new deal isn’t signed. That’s a possibility, though it would be a departure from Jones’ public takes on the negotiations.
“Like I said, it’s nothing for me to really report,” Jones told reporters back on Aug. 20 when his agent was in town negotiating with the Falcons. “Just front office business with my agent, Jimmy Sexton ... I didn’t put a timeline on it. Me, I just do what I need to do to stay ready.”
Julio is set to count just under $13.5 million against the cap this season. Compare that with some other wide receiver salaries around the league, and you’ll see why there needs to be a sense of urgency to keep Jones on the field.
Jones is set to make less than Michael Thomas, Odell Beckham Jr., Antonio Brown, Amari Cooper, T.Y. Hilton, Mike Evans, Jarvis Landry, DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green, Sammy Watkins, Alshon Jeffery, Larry Fitzgerald, Emmanuel Sanders, Keenan Allen, and Allen Robinson this season. Jones led the league in receiving yards in 2018 with 1,677, adding eight touchdowns. He finished the 2017 season second in the NFL behind Brown with 1,533 yards and nine touchdowns.
Hopefully Blank is correct and a deal is imminent. I, too, will be surprised and disappointed if the Falcons don’t get this handled by the time the Falcons face the Vikings on Sunday.