Like receivers Demaryius Thomas and Dez Bryant, receiver Julio Jones has signed a five-year deal. Unlike Thomas and Bryant, Jones had one year remaining on his rookie contract.
The new-money average beats Thomas and Bryant; at $71.25 million over five years, Jones eclipses the five-year, $70 million contracts signed last month by $250,000 per year, for an average of $14.25 million. But Jones actually has a six-year deal, worth $81.426 million. That’s a total average of $13.571 million.
Jones could have gotten more in 2016 if he’d played out the fifth year of his first NFL contract, but Jones would have carried the risk of injury through the 2015 season. So he gets less now than he could have gotten later, but he gets more than he would have gotten if he had torn an ACL or had some other serious injury.
The Falcons, who based on Jones’ own words apparently wouldn’t have faced a holdout in 2016 if the franchise tag had been used, were happy to absorb the injury the risk in lieu of paying more later.
Many details regarding the contract aren’t yet known. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that the deal has $47 million in guarantees; how much of that is fully guaranteed at signing isn’t known.
Bryant got $32 million fully-guaranteed at signing and as a practical matter he’ll make $45 million over three years. Thomas got $35 million fully-guaranteed at signing.
For Jones, those nuances may not matter; in announcing the deal, owner Arthur Blank called Julio Jones a “Falcon for life,” which means he’ll get all $81.426 million — and maybe more.