Julio Jones isn’t speaking publicly about his contract issue, but his decision to skip OTAs does put the Falcons front office on notice.
The Atlanta Falcons know that Julio Jones can put a ton of pressure on opposing defensive backs. Unfortunately, members of the team’s front office are about to find out what type of pressure he can put on them. The talented wideout wants a new contract, and his decision to skip the teams OTAs is a clear sign that he’s getting serious about his demands.
The good news for Falcons fans is that the team does appear to be ready to negotiate with Jones. His decision to skip OTAs doesn’t look like a massive power play. Instead, it seems like a gentle reminder to Falcons brass that this is an issue that needs to be addressed before the season.
Jones is slated to make just under $13 million this season. That salary is well behind deals wide receivers got on the open market this summer. For example, the Chiefs handed Sammy Watkins a three-year, $48 million contract this summer. Jones is clearly a better receiver but he’s making less money.
Even though Jones is underpaid, it doesn’t mean the Falcons should hand him a blank check. He’s already 29 years old so the team needs to make sure it doesn’t overcommit to Jones in terms of years. Paying him a lot of money over a shorter deal would make more sense for the team and its salary cap management.
Falcons fans shouldn’t be panicking yet, but they should be keeping a close eye on the situation. Skipping OTAs in and of itself isn’t a big deal. It should be enough to bring the Falcons to the negotiating table to get a deal done.
If Jones’ absence extends into mandatory preseason activities, then it will really be time for Falcons supporters to get concerned. We’re still pretty far away from that, but it’s not an inconceivable scenario. The Falcons need to get a deal done with Jones before this situation escalates.