Written by: Joe Carlino @joecarlino14
The Atlanta Falcons and their fans can finally breathe a sigh of relief.
Earlier today, the team finally announced what was expected to transpire over the course of this offseason: they have agreed to terms on a massive three-year extension with star wide receiver Julio Jones, effectively making him the highest-paid receiver in the NFL.
The deal, as first reported by the NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport, is worth $66 million, with a record $64 million due at the time of signing. This deal comes on the heels of Michael Thomas signing a $100 million extension and Chiefs wideout Tyreek Hill netting a three-year, $54 million deal of his own.
Before signing this new extension, Jones was slated to make $9.6 million this upcoming year and $11.426 million in 2020, which would’ve kept him out of the top-10 AAV for receivers despite being arguably one of (if not the) best in the league today.
A model of consistency since entering the league in 2011, Jones currently sits at second in franchise history in receiving yards (10,731), second in catches (698) and fourth in touchdowns (51). Jones also holds the NFL record for most games with at least 250 yards receiving with three and is currently in a stretch of five straight seasons with at least 1,400 receiving yards, which broke a tie with Marvin Harrison for the most consecutive. Last year, Jones led the league in receiving yards with 1,677, good for his fifth straight Pro Bowl selection
Throughout the last year, the Falcons front office staff, and predominantly team owner Arthur Blank have stated Julio’s contract would be revisited over this offseason following a tumultuous summer of 2018 where the team gave him a raise and promised to address the situation properly this year. Blank even went so far as to say Jones would be a “Falcon for life”, and Jones affirmed that mindset, saying “Mr. Blank gave us his word.”
Recently, with the upcoming season and the extension not being addressed, Falcons fans grew increasingly concerned that Jones might try to hold out and not play unless he had a new contract in hand, despite the receiver stating he would “do everything he could to be ready, and that he’ll be ready whenever his number is called”.
Fortunately, this situation has been resolved. Now, the Falcons, along with Jones, can fully focus on a much anticipated Week One contest with the Vikings tomorrow afternoon and a tough task ahead in the NFC South. That said, with a happy Jones in tow and a loaded receiving unit, it’s safe to say that the team will be a legitimate contender.