By D. Orlando Ledbetter
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (TNS)
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, who was promised a contract extension this offseason, did not report Monday to the start of the team’s organized team activities.
The Falcons, like much of the NFL, were closely monitoring Antonio Brown’s renegotiated contract ($54.1 million with $30.1 million guaranteed) as the likely new bar for wide receivers after he was traded to the Raiders.
Jones did not participate in offseason activities last season and settled on a contract adjustment before the start of training camp. The Falcons agreed to improve Jones’ contract after it was adjusted on July 27, 2018.
Jones’ deal currently has two years remaining with salaries of $9.6 million in 2019 and $11.4 million in 2020. With Brown’s new deal averaging $18 million, the Falcons will likely have to double Jones’ base salary and grant a two or three-year extension to lessen the salary cap ramifications. Odell Beckham Jr. of the Cleveland Browns is the only other receiver averaging $18 million a year.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank has said that Jones and defensive tackle Grady Jarrett would be “Falcons for life.” Jarrett signed his $15.2 million franchise tag while the team has remained optimistic that Jones’ deal would still get done.
Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff gave updates on the contract situations on May 1 on SiriusXM NFL radio.
He stated that the team remains in contact with Todd France, who represents Jarrett, but for the first time acknowledged that Jarrett could end up playing in the coming season on the franchise tag.
“I’m confident that something will get done one way or the other,” Dimitroff said. “If it doesn’t, we have a year to continue to talk about it.”
Jones’ price tag keeps going up as the wide receiver market was re-adjusted by Brown’s new contract.
Dimitroff said there was no “time frame” on the deal.