The main takeaway is that Jones isn't planning a holdout as a tactic to secure a new contract. Falcons owner Arthur Blank recently suggested it's just a matter of time until the two parties reach an agreement, essentially acknowledging that Jones has outplayed his five-year, $71.25 million contract through three seasons. The 30-year-old wideout is working on five consecutive years with more than 1,400 yards, including a 2018 campaign in which he scored eight touchdowns in the final nine games. Regular appearances on the injury report do create some concern regarding longevity, but Jones hasn't missed a game since 2016 and has missed just three since 2013.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank expects Jones to receive a contract extension this offseason, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports. "I'll let Antonio Brown take care of himself," Blank said. "And we will take care of Julio and make sure that he's treated with the respect that he should be and that he's earned."
Jones has two seasons remaining on a five-year, $71.25 million contract, placing him 11th among wide receivers in average annual value, per overthecap.com. He hasn't made any public comments about a potential holdout, but that doesn't mean it isn't on his mind. The 30-year-old is working on a five-year streak with more than 1,400 yards, having missed just three games during that stretch despite dealing with numerous injuries. Jones' career mark of 96.7 receiving yards per game is the best in NFL history, and he finally exorcised his touchdown demons during the second half of 2018. The current contract gives Atlanta some leverage in negotiations, but the team seems wary of alienating its best player. It sounds like Jones will have a new deal at some point within the next few months.
Jones has two seasons remaining on a five-year, $71.25 million extension that now looks like a bargain compared to the contracts for other top wide receivers. He easily outperformed his $12.9 million cap hit in 2018, leading the league with 1,677 receiving yards despite playing through injuries all season. At last check, he was headed for X-rays on his chest area after posting a 9-138-1 receiving line Week 17 against Tampa Bay. The lack of follow-up from Atlanta beat reporters suggests nothing serious came from the testing, though Jones did subsequently pull out of the Pro Bowl. Still going strong as he approaches his 30th birthday in February, the superstar wideout could angle for a modest raise or perhaps even an early contract extension. Jones shouldn't have much trouble adjusting to new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, who previously held the same position in Atlanta from 2012 to 2014.
Jones brought in nine of 13 targets for 138 yards and a touchdown in the Falcons' 34-32 win over the Buccaneers. However, he apparently was headed for X-rays to his chest area following the game, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports.
The potential injury aside, Jones enjoyed an outstanding season finale, capping it with his ninth 100-yard game of the campaign. Jones also scored a total of five touchdowns over the final four games, a welcome sight after he famously failed to find the end zone in his first seven contests. The eight-year veteran also finished 2018 with the second-highest reception (113) and receiving yardage (1,677) totals of his career, while his eight touchdowns equaled the second-best figure that he's ever amassed in that category. Showing absolutely no signs of slowing down at 29 years of age, Jones will look to reestablish his prolific connection with Matt Ryan in 2019.
Jones (hip/ribs) doesn't have an injury designation for Sunday's game in Tampa Bay, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports.
After returning to practice Friday as a limited participant, Jones is set to hit the 16-game mark for a third time in the past four seasons. His consistent presence on the injury report hasn't prevented him from piling up a league-high 1,539 scrimmage yards, with a good chance to reach 1,600 for the second time in his career. Jones caught 10 passes for 144 yards in a Week 6 win over Tampa Bay, boosting his career averages against the Bucs to 7.2 catches for 120 yards and 0.8 touchdowns per game.
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