May is downtime in the NFL, and not a lot is happening after the draft. One thing some teams are doing is negotiating contract extensions, like the Atlanta Falcons, hoping to get a deal done with star wide receiver Julio Jones as soon as possible.
Jones, 26, had an excellent 2014 after missing most of the previous seasons. Despite the lack of success the Falcons experienced for a second straight year, Jones put his name up for the title ‘best receiver in the NFL’ with 104 receptions for 1593 yards and six touchdowns, looking unstoppable at times even in double coverage, his second 1000-yard season in three years.
Jones has a contract for 2015 worth a $10.1 million cap hit, but the Falcons are hoping that they don’t have to go into the season without a long term deal being agreed upon. Of course, there’s always the option of using the franchise tag on him in 2016, which would be worth around $13 million a season, but both sides will try work something out that includes more years and money.
Up until this point, the Falcons and Jones haven’t been holding contract talks, but general manager Thomas Dimitroff has said that now that the draft is over, and it included one wide receiver (Justin Hardy out of East Carolina in the fourth round) they can now move on to focusing on contract they want to handle, first and foremost the Jones deal.
Jones is a two-time Pro Bowl selection (2012, 2014). He played his college ball for Alabama, selected 6th overall in the 2011 NFL draft. He finished third in receiving yards and receptions last season.