Julio Jones breaks silence on possible rift with Falcons over contract situation
Julio Jones finally answered a few questions about his contract situation
During a recent run-in with TMZ, Jones described his relationship with the Falcons in two words.
"We're good," Jones said.
Of course, the only reason Jones had to answer that question is because, over the past eight weeks, there's been some speculation that maybe things aren't going so well between Jones and the Falcons. For one, Jones isand let's also not forget the fact that he scrubbed EVERY FALCONS PICTURE back in April, which sent half the city of Atlanta into a frenzy. Let's be fair here, if you get scrubbed from someone's Instagram account, that's usually not a good thing.
According to NFL.com, one of the reasons that Jones is skipping OTAs is because he wants an "update" to his contract. Although the receiver , $71.25 million deal in 2015, that contract hasn't really stood the test of time. In 2018, Jones is scheduled to make $10.5 million in base salary, which ranks 12th overall in the NFL among wide receivers. Jones' average annual salary of $14.25 million isn't even in the top five anymore with both Jarvis Landry and Sammy Watkins blowing by him this offseason.
Despite those numbers, Jones said his contract has nothing to do with why he's not attending OTAs.
"It's not even about that," Jones told TMZ. "Everybody wants a story right now. There's no story to be told. I'm just working. I'm getting myself better. I'm just working on myself right now. There's no bad blood between me and the team or anything like that. Everybody on the outside trying to look in and destroy what we built there."
The good news for Falcons fans is that Jones "loves" his team and he doesn't sound like someone who's going to create a lot of drama for them.
"I'm not going anywhere," Jones said. "I love the team. I love the organization. I love everybody there. We good."
Falcons owner Arthur Blank seems to feel the same way. During a recent interview with 11alive.com, Blank said that he envisions Jones being with the team forever.
"I love Julio. He loves me. He loves Atlanta. He's going to be here forever," Blank said. "We'll talk to him directly about [the contract situation], and that's between us and him. We've always treated our players respectively, competitively and done whatever we have to do to make a winning team on the field."
It'll be interesting to see if the Falcons do open up contract talks with Jones and that's mainly because he basically has zero leverage here. The receiver has three years left on his current contract, which means the Falcons could just ignore any potential contract demands and force him to play out his deal, but it doesn't sound like they would do that.
As for OTAs, Falcons coach Dan Quinn said the team was aware that Jones would be skipping the voluntary workouts, so there was no surprise there.
"Julio and I, we speak regularly, so I was fully aware that he wasn't going to be here for the start of the offseason program," Quinn said on May 22, via ESPN.com. "And I was also aware that he wasn't going to be here this past Monday [start of OTAs]. He's in great shape. He's spending some time this offseason working on some of the things he has not even been able to over the last offseason due to some injuries."
When it comes down to it, the offseason drama between Jones and the Falcons doesn't seem that dramatic. However, that could change in just weeks if Jones doesn't show up for minicamp. The team's mandatory practice session runs June 12-14, and if Jones is a no-show there, then the Falcons might want to start worrying.
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