Old-school football types will scoff at the Falcons’ decision to pay more money to a player when the team didn’t have to, but the Falcons probably would respond by saying, “We had to.”
While the details haven’t been disclosed or leaked yet (they surely will be), the Falcons did enough with Jones’ 2018 compensation to get him to show up for training camp and renew his vows with the team that made a bold move up in the 2011 draft to get him. If they hadn’t, who knows when Jones would have shown up?
That’s the message the Falcons surely gleaned by the player’s willingness to boycott training camp. As explained on Wednesday, Jones’ decision to stay away suggested a commitment to his cause that would have caused him to continue his absence into the regular season, showing up either after 10 weeks or not at all.
The team tried to hide behind budgetary considerations, which anyone with any real business experience knows is a flimsy excuse to not cough up cash. It’s entirely possible that, for cap purposes, the Falcons came up with a structure that keeps his number at $12.9 million. But the bottom line is that the Falcons wisely found a way to add to Jones’ bottom line.
So what about the idea that the Falcons have set a bad precedent by revising a contract that had three years remaining on it? If other Falcons players with three years left on their contracts want new deals, the Falcons merely need to say, “Play like Julio Jones and you’ll get one.”
Meanwhile, it probably didn’t help the team’s cause to announce on Wednesday that both coach Dan Quinn and G.M. Thomas Dimitroff have received new contracts despite having multiple years remaining on their current deals. If owner Arthur Blank can give them more when he technically doesn’t have to, Blank can do it with Jones as well.
And Blank did. How much more he gave Jones remains to be seen, and it inevitably will be.