The Falcons and wide receiver Julio Jones have agreed to a five-year contract extension, Peter King of The MMQB tweets. The deal is worth $71.25MM and includes $47MM in guarantees, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen (Twitter link).
Our own Luke Adams speculated in July that Jones could become the league’s second-highest-paid wideout. That has come to fruition, as Jones’ $14.25MM annual salary is second to the Lions’ Calvin Johnson, per Tom Pelissero of USA Today (via Twitter).
Jones is the latest in a string of standout receivers to sign an extension prior to the upcoming season, joining the Cowboys’ Dez Bryant (five years, $70MM, $45MM guaranteed), the Broncos’ Demaryius Thomas (five years, $70MM, $43.5MM guaranteed), and the Colts’ T.Y. Hilton (five years, $65MM, $39MM guaranteed). This news comes despite a report earlier this week (Twitter link) that contract talks between the Falcons and Jones had “stalled significantly.” Nevertheless, the two sides set a deadline for today, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted, and were able to hammer out a deal to keep Jones from possibly testing free agency next offseason.
“We could not be more thrilled to make Julio a Falcon for life,” team owner Arthur Blank said, per ESPN’s Vaughn McClure (Twitter link).
King reported (via Twitter) that, as recently as a few weeks ago, “there was unanimity that all in” the Falcons organization wanted Jones to spend his entire prime in Atlanta, and for good reason. The Falcons took Jones in the first round of the 2011 draft and the ex-Alabama star has since established himself as one of the best wideouts in the league, catching 278 passes and 26 touchdowns in 49 games. The 26-year-old is coming off his best season, one in which he totaled personal bests in receptions (104) and yards (1,593). He also hauled in six touchdowns, his second-highest amount in a season, averaged 15.3 yards per catch, and made his second Pro Bowl.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.