Falcons’ goal is to complete deal with Julio Jones before start of season

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The last we heard anything about Julio Jones‘ contract was a week ago when Jones’ agent reportedly was headed to Atlanta for negotiations.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank said Monday the team hopes to complete a deal with their star receiver before the start of the season Sept. 8.

“I would hope so, but I don’t know that,” Blank told D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We’ll have to let things take their course. I know that we are definitely in serious negotiations. It’s our goal, and their goal, as well to get it done before the start of the season.”

Jones has an annual average of $14.25 million and is signed through 2020. General Manager Thomas Dimitroff has said the Falcons are prepared to make Jones the highest-paid player at his position.

Michael Thomas reset the receiver market this offseason, signing a five-year, $100 million extension with the Saints that includes $61 million in guarantees.

“I’ve said this publicly and privately to Julio and Julio has said the same thing to me, both privately and publicly,” Blank told Ledbetter. “We expect Julio to be a Falcon for life and we have no reason to think that’s going to change at all.

“The negotiations continue to move along in a positive way. It’s a big contract, and it’s complex and what have you. It takes a little more time than we’d like. Probably a little more time than he would like, but I know we are in a good place.”

Jones, 30, made his sixth Pro Bowl last season. He is a two-time All-Pro and has made 698 catches for 10,731 yards and 51 touchdowns in his eight seasons.