Julio Jones will be an Atlanta Falcon for the foreseeable future, as the team has worked out an extension with their All-Pro wide receiver.
News broke Saturday morning that the team was nearing an agreement with Julio. Now the deal is done, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Atlanta and Pro-Bowl WR Julio Jones just reached agreement on a landmark three-year, $66 million extension that includes $66 million guaranteed - $64 million of which is due at signing, sources tell @mortreport and me. It ties together the two sides for the next five seasons.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 7, 2019
It’s been a busy offseason for the Falcons’ front office, as Jones now becomes the third major contributor to ink an extension, following in the footsteps of Grady Jarrett and Deion Jones. This was to be expected, however, as Arthur Blank himself said that Jones would be a “Falcon for life” a few months ago.
Jones’ contract probably received a bump with news that inferior WR Michael Thomas signed a 5 year/$100 million contract extension ($61 million guaranteed) with the Saints, a few days into training camp. Because Atlanta’s star WR would never lay an egg in the NFC Championship Game to the tune of four receptions for 36 yards, it was only logical that he received more money on an annual average basis.
The new contract extension will add three years to Julio’s existing deal for a total value of $66 million in new and fully guaranteed money.
Jones had two years and about $21 million left on a 5 year, $71 million contract he signed back in 2015, which made him the league’s highest-paid WR at the time. Guaranteed money is gold when it comes to NFL contracts, however, and Julio didn’t have any more of that left on his deal.
No. 11 briefly held out of the team’s mandatory minicamp, and a part of training camp, last offseason in hopes of getting a new deal done. The team mitigated the situation by making a slight adjustment to his 2018 salary and promising to “re-address” negotiations on a new deal this offseason.
Julio proceeded to the lead the league in receiving yards in 2018, proving himself once again as the best wide receiver in the NFL. He leads the NFL in both receiving yards and first down+touchdown conversions since 2014.
Before this extension, Jones was the 11th-highest paid WR in the league in terms of annual salary average, and the 13th-highest paid WR in terms of salary cap earnings in 2019 (according to Over the Cap). With this new deal, he’s back to being the highest-paid wide receiver in football.
The other two premier WRs who are constantly put in Julio’s tier as the best in the NFL, Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr., were both traded this offseason. Both have a history being distractions off the field, and their respective teams opted to get rid of them as a result. In fact, Brown is about to force his way off of his new team as well, before even playing a down of football with them. The opposite is true of Julio Jones, who has never been a distraction, and who will now probably be a Falcon for life.