While Dez Bryant is threatening to hold out if he doesn’t get a new deal, another superstar receiver continues to wait patiently for a long-term offer. The Falcons and Julio Jones have yet to discuss an extension, a league source told Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com.
Teammate Roddy White has stated that he believes Jones should be the NFL’s highest-paid receiver. Atlanta probably doesn’t want to give Jones that mantle seeing as how Calvin Johnson earns $16.2MM per year off of his deal with the Lions. That seven-year pact also gave Megatron a hefty $43.75MM guarantee. Jones, 26, has one year remaining on his contract at $10.176MM.
The Falcons wide receiver told reporters back in June that he doesn’t intend to hold out as he seeks a new contract. Of course, things could always change this time next year if the two sides can’t hammer out a new pact. There are, however, incentives for both sides to get something done. Jones is a virtual lock to receive the franchise tag in 2016 (~$14MM) and a second one in 2017 would cost Atlanta nearly $17MM. The average of those two years could be used as justification for a long-term deal in the $15MM per year range with over $40MM in guarantees. That would put Jones shy of Megatron but, then again, it’d be surprising to see anyone best his deal since there were such unique circumstances surrounding Johnson’s negotiations.
In 2014, Jones established new career highs with 104 receptions and 1,593 yards in 2014, earning his second Pro Bowl berth. The 26-year-old missed most of the 2013 season with a foot injury, he ranked among the league leaders in receiving yards (1,198) and receiving touchdowns (10) in 2012.