At long last, it sounds like the Falcons and wideout Julio Jones have agreed to a contract extension. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) have agreed to a three-year, $66MM extension. The unprecedented deal is fully-guaranteed and includes $64MM due at signing.
Earlier today, NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero reported (via Twitter) that the two sides were finalizing a deal that would make Jones the highest-paid receiver in the league. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweeted that the deal was expected to be a three-year pact worth around $66MM.
Jones is now setting a new benchmark at the position. Saints Pro Bowler Michael Thomas leads wideouts with an average annual value of $19.25MM, following by Browns receiver Odell Beckham Jr. at $18MM. Jones had been pushing for an extension for several seasons, with his previous AAV ($14.25MM) ranking only 12th among wideouts.
Since Jones is heading into his age-30 season, his extension is a bit more complicated than the deals signed by Thomas and Beckham. Still, the nine-year pro was apparently able to set a new standard at the position, even if it’s only for a handful of years. The $64MM that’s due at signing is also a record-setter; 97-percent of Jones’ contract is guaranteed at signing, while the previous high for a non-QB (according to Schefter) belonged to Trey Flowers, who got 74-percent guaranteed at signing.
The two sides had been discussing an extension for months, with recent reports indicating that a deal was close. Jones didn’t hold out from minicamp nor training camp, while owner Arthur Blank consistently expressed optimism that they’d sign the receiver to a long-term deal. The front office has also been working on clearing up cap space, with many assuming the money would end up going to Jones.
The former first-rounder has certainly established himself as one of the best players at his position. Jones’ 7,994 receiving yards since the 2014 season are the most any player has ever compiled in a five-year span, and he finished last season with 113 receptions for a league-leading 1,677 receiving yards and eight touchdowns.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.