Julio Jones patiently waited for a contract extension, trusting promises from Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank that it would get done.
The approach paid off, in a big way. Jones, one of the best receivers of his generation, agreed to a contract extension with the Falcons.
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NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport reported the extension was close to being finalized on Saturday morning, and Jones will be paid about $66 million over three years. Early Saturday afternoon, ESPN’s Adam Schefter said the two sides agreed to the deal, and all $66 million is guaranteed. Of that $66 million, $64 million was due at signing, Schefter said.
There never seemed to be a real concern that Jones wouldn’t get the big deal he wanted from Atlanta. But it took a while, and the Falcons got it done just before the regular season started.
Julio Jones believed the Falcons’ promise
Jones wanted an extension last year, but settled for a raise instead. He also got a promise that his contract would be addressed this offseason. And Jones took a surprisingly calm approach to it all.
“Nah, man, as far as the contract thing, Mr. Blank has spoken,” Jones said this offseason, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “At the end of the day, his word is gold. He said they are going to get something done between them and my agency. As far as me, I just hold up my end and stay ready.”
Blank’s word did end up being good. One of the greatest Falcons players ever will be in Atlanta for a long time, and he should be happy.
Jones is one of the NFL’s best
Jones is on a clear path to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He’s a six-time Pro Bowler. He has had at least 1,400 yards in five straight seasons. Last season he led the NFL with 1,677 yards, the second time he has been the NFL’s receiving yards champ.
Waiting to extend Jones probably didn’t save the Falcons any money. When New Orleans Saints receiver Michael Thomas signed a five-year deal worth more than $96 million, including almost $61 million guaranteed, that set a huge market for Jones’ extension.
Jones did turn 30 in February so at some point relatively soon he’ll start to slow down. But there doesn’t seem to be any danger in that happening right away. Jones is still one of the best in the game, and just got paid as such.
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