Coach Dan Quinn indicated that he had been in touch with Jones this offseason, so the star wideout's absence from OTAs wasn't much of a surprise to him. The storyline doesn't have much meat on the bones, however, as voluntary OTAs are frequently skipped by established players. An absence from minicamp would be more notable, but that's not anticipated at this juncture.
Jones was not present for the first session of OTAs on Monday, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
This was somewhat expected after reports surfaced that Jones wanted "updated" terms in his current contract. Jones is healthy and has reportedly been working out away from the team, unlike last offseason when he was coming off foot surgery. It's not entirely uncommon for established veterans to skip voluntary OTAs, but if Jones is still out when minicamp kicks off June 12, there will be more significance to his absence.
Jones is supposedly looking for revised terms on his contract, which is set to pay the star receiver $10.5 million for the 2018 season. Jones agreed to a five-year, $71.25 million contract extension with Atlanta in August of 2015, but has since seen Antonio Brown and Mike Evans sign deals north of $16.5 million in annual value (compared to Jones' average annual payout of $14.25 million). NFL Insider Ian Rapoport seemed confident Friday that the team is agreeable to Jones' request, and will come back to the table to discuss an updated contract in the near future.
Jones' erasing of Falcons-related photos from his Instagram account last month has cultivated little tangible anxiety from the organization, as Matt Ryan exemplified Monday during his appearance on ESPN's NFL Live. "I don't think much of it," Ryan said. "I think that, No. 1, he's the best teammate that you could ask for... We're fortunate to have him as a part of this organization, for sure."
The fact that Jones has not participated in voluntary offseason workouts (which began April 16) is somewhat puzzling, especially considering head coach Dan Quinn's statement at March's NFL owners meeting that he looked forward to the star receiver having a full offseason to build camaraderie with Matt Ryan. Jones sat out for the entirety of the Falcons' offseason program last year and remained a limited participant for training camp while recovering from foot surgery. The perennial Pro Bowl-caliber receiver eclipsed 1,400 yards for the fourth consecutive season, but the lack of on-field repetitions had a detrimental impact on his efficiency in 2017, as he finished tied for second in the league in drops while declining to his lowest catch rate since 2011 (59.5 percent).
Jones is not partaking in the first week of Atlanta's voluntary offseason program while he attends the grand opening of his car dealership in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports.
Jones missed the entirety of the team's 2017 offseason program due to foot surgery, so head coach Dan Quinn's announcement in March indicating that Jones would participate in this year's workouts was news well-received by every tier of the Falcons' organization. Quinn reported that there is no cause for concern regarding Jones being absent in the early going. "It's not mandatory," Quinn said this week from the team facility, "but we knew (he wasn't) going to be here." Jones' prompt return to workouts is expected, as he aims to continue building rapport with Matt Ryan and the rest of the receiving corps.
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