Some believed that the Falcons and receiver Julio Jones quietly had a deal in place, and that the two sides were waiting for the one-year anniversary of his latest new contract (a mandatory requirement for some deals) before officially executing the new one. The Falcons apparently now wish that was the case.
As one league source explains it to PFT, there wasn’t a deal and there still isn’t a deal. As the season approaches, it’s becoming a problem for the team.
Reinforcing the notion that the Falcons knew what they’d be paying Jones was the team’s ability to extend defensive tackle Grady Jarrett and linebacker Deion Jones. But, again, that wasn’t the case. The Falcons now need to make something with Jones work within the framework established by the Jarrett deal, the Deion Jones deal, and all other existing deals.
Most recently came the unexpected necessity to bring kicker Matt Bryant back, with a one-year, $3 million base deal. Although the salary cap sits at $188.2 million, every dollar counts when one of the best receivers in the NFL is looking to cash in — and when the Falcons apparently don’t have much to spare. Based on current NFLPA numbers, the Falcons have less than $4 million in cap space. At this point, the Falcons will have to negotiate one or more deals to get the Julio Jones deal done.
For his part, Julio Jones hasn’t grumbled or complained. He said weeks ago that owner Arthur Blank gave his word that a contract was coming, and that that was good enough for Julio Jones. The offers made to date, however, clearly haven’t been good enough — and they need to get better soon or Julio Jones may start grumbling and complaining.