Last month, while contract talks were ongoing, Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones didn’t show up to minicamp. Fast forward to the present and the Falcons aren’t giving him a new contract, per Jeff Schultz of the Athletic.
“…they have no plans to give him the raise that he is seeking before the 2018 season, but they maintain hope that Jones will report to training camp on time next week.”
Meanwhile Jones, 29, is coming off another fine season. Not only did he play in all 16 games, but he put up 1,444 yards on 88 receptions along the way. Still, he only found the end zone on three occasions. Quarterback Matt Ryan and company need to do a better job of ensuring that total goes up.
There’s also the case to be made that on his day, Jones is arguably the best wideout in the NFL. You take him off this roster and things probably fall apart rather quickly. The Falcons have other weapons, of course, but nobody else can match his production. Atlanta simply doesn’t have another playmaker like him on the offensive side of the ball.
In the meantime, Atlanta is coming off their second straight winning season and playoff appearance. They couldn’t avenge their Super Bowl collapse, but they still put together another solid campaign. Still, the two-time All-Pro isn’t getting any younger and the Falcons need to strike while the iron is hot. Upsetting arguably the best wide receiver in the league probably isn’t the best way to go about that. Under contract through 2020, his base salary for the season stands at $10.5 million and doesn’t get much higher than that over the next two years.
During his first seven seasons, Jones’ per 16 game averages are as follows: 99 receptions, 1,525 yards and seven touchdowns. In other words, the Atlanta Falcons definitely need him.