Julio Jones has been absent from the Falcons’ organized team activities, leading some to assume that the superstar receiver was leveraging for a new contract. However, Jones told TMZ that we shouldn’t be reading into his no-show.
“We’re good,” Jones said (via Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com). “It’s not even about that. Everyone wants a story right now. There’s no story. I’m just working on getting myself better. There’s no bad blood with the team or anything like that…I’m not going anywhere.”
We heard earlier this month that Jones was seeking a reworked deal, especially after quarterback Matt Ryan signed a record-breaking extension. The 29-year-old receiver is set to earn $10.5MM in base salary this season, and there are a handful of minimal guarantees remaining on the deal. Meanwhile, his $14.25MM average annual salary ranks eighth among wideouts, and Jones is listed behind names like Jarvis Landry, Sammy Watkins and Davante Adams.
While Jones could certainly argue that he deserves to be the highest-paid wideout in the NFL, the Falcons probably aren’t looking to rip up a deal that runs through 2020. ProFootballTalk.com’s Mike Florio said this should realistically be the wideout’s final payday, and “he may have to take a real stand” to get the organization to budge.
On the flip side, as our own Sam Robinson pointed out, Atlanta’s brass has continually been in support of Jones, so there shouldn’t be any resentment between the two sides. Furthermore, owner Arthur Blank and coach Dan Quinn have both said that they aren’t concerned about Jones’ current absence, and it’s believed he’ll attend mandatory workouts.
The receiver is coming off his fourth straight season with at least 1,400 yards, as he finished with 88 receptions for 1,444 yards and three scores. The 2011 first-round pick has made the Pro Bowl in each of his last five healthy seasons.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.