Arthur Blank: Falcons “very, very close” to a deal with Julio Jones

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Falcons owner Arthur Blank long has expressed optimism at getting a long-term deal completed with Julio Jones before the start of the season. Five days before the first game against the Vikings, the Falcons are “very, very close” to doing just that.

Blank told Jeff Schultz of TheAthletic.com that he expects to announce an extension with his star receiver this week.

“I’d be surprised and disappointed if we didn’t get it done this week,” Blank said. “. . .I think it’s very reasonable to assume it will get done this week.”

Jones, who is signed through 2020, has an annual average of $14.25 million. The Saints made Thomas the highest-paid receiver this offseason with a five-year, $100 million deal.

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.