Photo by Gary A. Vasquez, USA Today Sports
Written by Joe Carlino
The Falcons just locked up another key piece of their young team.
After reports surfaced following the Grady Jarrett extension that Atlanta was slated to meet with Deion Jones’ agent Drew Rosenhaus, the team announced today they’ve locked up their star middle linebacker until the 2023 season, signing a four-year, $57 million deal with $34 million in guarantees.
Arguably the anchor of the defense for Atlanta, Jones’ skills were panned when he was selected in the second round of the 2016 draft, two rounds before fellow linebacker De’Vondre Campbell. Since then, he has demonstrated his talent and then some, including making players like Roquan Smith top-10 material with his ability to cover sideline-to-sideline like Bobby Wagner and Luke Kuechly. Jones’ ability to read plays and ensure his fellow teammates are in position is also indicative of his development and dedication towards keeping the team ready for anything.
Last year, Jones was hampered by a nagging hip injury suffered in Week One which kept him out of the lineup until the Cowboys game in mid-November. However, in the games he did play in, he still proved why he’s very valuable towards the future of the Falcons’ defensive front. His best moment last season: a Week 15 game in which he had a 41-yard pick-six during a 40-14 rout of the Cardinals.
Of course, while this move wasn’t expected until next offseason, it does prevent this negotiation path from going down the Grady Jarrett route and keeps the franchise tag option available for another player should that situation arise. Now, all eyes are locked on the most important piece of the Falcons: getting Julio locked up. Should that deal get done anytime soon, it’ll prove two things without question: Arthur Blank is a man of his word, and watch out NFC South because the “Dirty Birds” are making a comeback.