This time last season, Atlanta had a Julio Jones problem on their hand. The of all things Falcons and . what the folks in Flowery Branch believed would be a Super Bowl season. Thomas Dimitroff went out back, enough that he would return to camp and play the season.
Jones, arguably the best wide receiver in football, was promised by owner Arthur Blank he would get a new contract commiserate with his skillset this offseason. And believes that promise he was given is "golden" which is why, according to an airport interview he gave to TMZ, he is not planning on holding out this offseason.
"I'm doing my part at the end of the day. Just training every day, getting ready every day," Jones said. "My agent, the Falcons, Mr. Blank. I've said it before -- Mr. Blank gave us his word. It's golden. [His word was that] it's going to get done. No stress on my end. I'm not going to think about it. It's easy for me to just go out and work every day. Not going to have one of those situations where there's a holdout."
Quick aside: how on Earth does TMZ constantly find Julio? I get that he's a huge human being but in this interview he's wearing a hoodie. Or maybe Julio loves talking to TMZ? He doesn't shy away from chatting with them at the airport. Would he be the same if I rolled up and said I was with CBS? Maybe I'll go spend a few weeks in the Atlanta airport and find out.
ANYWAY, Julio says there's no holdout coming this offseason.
"I'm not going to hold out, not do any of that stuff, man," Jones said. "Just be a professional and do what I do and bring it every year like I do every year."
The fact of the matter is that, even at the age of 30, Jones is one of the best receivers in football. Do you realize what he's AVERAGED over the last five years?
I talked about this with Bryant McFadden on the Pick Six Podcast last week -- subscribe here to get a daily dose of NFL chatter in your earhole and listen to the podcast in the player below -- but Jones is somehow underrated.
There's no questioning his production though. Which is. The question is WHEN will he get paid. Presumably the Falcons are aware that not paying him would create issues.
Jones last signed a contract in the 2015 offseason,. That deal runs through the 2020 season; now is a pretty good time to extend Jones if the Falcons believe he can keep up his production over the next five years.
Atlanta drafted Calvin Ridley last year, and he might very well develop into a No. 1 for them (or a No. 1A?) but Julio is still the alpha for the Falcons offense. He's unstoppable when he's rolling. The Falcons offense is not the same without him.
And you can bet that everyone in the Falcons front office is aware of that, which is why Jones is likely getting paid this offseason. If he isn't paid, things could get a little dicey as we head into training camp.