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Former Alabama standout and current Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones led the NFC in receiving yards last season (1,593), but isn’t complaining about waiting on a long-term deal.
Vaughn McClure, staff writer for ESPN, said the Falcons have every intention to sign Jones to a lucrative deal, however, there is little discussion thus far between the Falcons and Jones’ agent, Jimmy Sexton. Jones has one-year left on his rookie contract (four-year, $16 million), and he’s attended all offseason workouts, including the first two days of mandatory minicamp.
Jones has made it clear that his focus is solely on playing football and being a good teammate.
“Whatever they feel like I’m deserving of…I’m just here,” Jones said to ESPN concerning a long-term deal with the Falcons. “Jimmy Sexton, he’s going to negotiate that with [general manager] Thomas [Dimitroff] and [Falcons owner] Mr. [Arthur] Blank. That’s the side they handle. My side, I’ve got to handle on the football field. I’ve got to keep putting in work.”
Atlanta did exercise the fifth-year option on Jones’ rookie contract in 2014.
He is set to make $10.2 million in the 2015 season, and would become an unrestricted free agent in 2016, if the Falcons do not sign him to a new deal or franchise tag him. Receivers would get $12.823 million if franchise tagged this season.
Detroit Lions’ wide receiver Calvin Johnson is the leader in the clubhouse when it comes to finances. He tops all receivers by making $16.2 million per year.
Johnson signed a seven-year, $113 million deal in 2013 that included a $16 million signing bonus and $43.75 million guaranteed. Jones’ teammate, Roddy White, wants him to be the highest-paid receiver in the NFL. Jones’ concern is more so about the team.
“I’m not going to hold out for anything,” Jones said to ESPN. “My teammates need me. I’m being selfish if I’m not here doing what I need to do.”
The two-time Pro Bowler (2012, 2014) and Sporting News All-Pro (2014) was selected in the first round (sixth overall pick) of the 2011 NFL Draft. Jones has accounted for 4,330 yards and 26 touchdowns on 278 receptions in four seasons. He tailed 1,593 yards and six touchdowns on 104 catches last season. Jones, 26, played three season at Alabama, capturing a Southeastern Conference title and a national championship in the 2009 season.
Stephen M. Smith is a staff writer and columnist for Touchdown Alabama Magazine, Pick Six Previews and SB Nation. You can “like” on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @ESPN_Future.