COVER 9@9: Market for Julio Jones will be set by Bryant, Thomas deals

(Welcome all! With the NFL becoming more of a passing league, the “Cover 9@9” blog is here for you every Wednesday at 9 a.m. We try to get to everything about the Atlanta Falcons from the Hometown Huddle to who blew that coverage against the Bears. After a short beach and golf break we're back for the ramp up to the start of training camp.  -– D. Orlando Ledbetter)

1. WHAT'S JULIO JONES' MARKET VALUE? The Falcons appear content to wait and see how the market settles at the wide receiver position.

That may not be a bad move.

Dallas wide receiver Dez Bryant appears headed for a protracted holdout and Denver wide receiver Demariyus Thomas reportedly is reluctant to sign a $12 million per year deal. The Falcons will watch closely as today's 4 p.m. deadline passes.

The issue, as CBS Sports Business analyst Joel Corry explained to us earlier this summer, is the determination of market value at the position.

It’s clear the teams are trying to roll back the prices from the Calvin Johnson contract.

Jones is set to enter the last year of his rookie contract with a base salary of $10.176 million in 2015. The main issue facing the Falcons is how to work out a deal that doesn’t cripple the team’s long-range goals.

Johnson signed a seven-year, $113.45 million deal, with $53.25 million guaranteed, and his $16.207 average per year is troublesome for teams.

Thomas and Bryant received the franchise tag of $12.82 million for 2015 and are seeking multi-year deals before today’s 4 p.m. deadline.

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

If the Falcons, who reportedly have not held any discussions with Jones' representation, can't work out a long-term deal, Jones could get the franchise tag in 2016 and 2017 and receive approximately $30.8 million, according to Corry, a former sports agent.

Jones has already said he doesn’t plan to holdout and figures that the business will work itself out.

The Falcons have repeatedly expressed a desire to retain Jones.

The negotiations for Bryant and Thomas are getting messy as the NFLPA had sent Dallas and Denver letters regarding a collusion claim last week. The union has contended that the Broncos and the Cowboys engaged in prohibited contact regarding the two deals.

Bryant tweeted Monday: "As much as I love football...on my beautiful babies.. I apologize #cowboynation but I will not be there if no deal #fact."

Thomas has not made any recent public comments about his contract. Thomas and the Broncos have been talking over the past 13 months.

NFL teams cannot have communications with one another "concerning the terms or conditions of employment offered to any player for inclusion, or included in a Player Contract" pursuant to the collective bargaining agreement ratified in 2011.

So, it’s understandable why the Falcons are sitting back and letting the Broncos and Cowboys do their dirty work and hopefully lower the market value at the wide receiver position.

2. JONES HIGHLIGHT REEL: Jones was the 13th rated player in the league on NFL Network's The Top 100 Players of 2015. This is Julio's second appearance on the list (26 – 2013). The list is voted on by current players.

Here’s the segment on Jones. It’s worth watching to see his highlights from last season. There’s plenty from his mega-game against Green Bay.

3. FALCONS TO HOST YOUTH COACHING CLINIC: Most of the youth leagues will be up and rolling by the end of the month.

This here camp is highly recommended for those first-year rookie youth coaches.

The Falcons and Under Armour will host a youth football coaching clinic at Westlake High School.  This is the first time the Falcons have hosted a clinic specifically designed for football coaches at the youth level.

The free clinic will provide coaches with the knowledge and skills to improve the youth football experience for their programs. The day will consist of a series of sessions that will discuss various youth football topics ranging from offensive and defensive schemes to program management (and hopefully parental control.)

Speakers leading these sessions include former Atlanta Falcons players, trainers from USA Football and members of the Positive Coaching Alliance.

The clinic is open to any and all youth football coaches. To register, coaches must go to

4. HAWLEY UPDATE: Joe Hawley, who was the opening day starting center last season, is still recovering from reconstructive knee surgery. He suffered his double ligament injury in the fourth game of last season against Minnesota on Sept. 28.

Hawley participated in some of the drills during the offseason, but didn’t take any snaps in 11-on-11 plays from scrimmage. His goal has been to be ready by the start of training camp on July 31.

“I’m about 85 to 90 percent I would say,” Hawley said on Tuesday on Moving the Chains on 680 The Fan. “The trainers told me with this kind of injury, it’s a double ligament injury, this whole year I’m never going to be back to 100 percent.”

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

With the proper treatment, Hawley believes he can still play.

“It’s going to be a lot of maintenance,” Hawley said. “I might tweak it here and there. It might swell up on me.

“I’ll have to be proactive with it, ice it and take care of it throughout the whole year and keep it strong. It’s going to be a lot of work, but I’m excited to get back out there on the football field.”

5. ON THE NEW SYSTEM: Hawley will have to recover enough to beat our James Stone, who started nine games last season.

He believes the new perimeter zone blocking system fits his style of play.

“It’s going to play to my strengths a lot,” Hawley said. “I’m a smaller center. I run well and I know the coaches are excited about having me in there too. I just have to get back healthy.”

6. ON STARTING AGAIN: Hawley, who backed up Todd McClure and then beat out Peter Konz for the starting job, wants to reclaim his starting position.

“It’s the number one priority,” Hawley said. “It’s my job. I worked hard for it. It took me a while to get there. I’m excited to get back out there.”

Hawley had a tough time watching from the sidelines last season.

“You have a whole new perspective,” Hawley said. “It changes your whole outlook on the game. It makes you appreciate it a lot more.”

7. ICYMI: MIKE JOHNSON HAS RETIRED: The once promising offensive line prospect went on 680 The Fan with Steak Shapiro and Sandra Golden on Tuesday. He talked at length about his decision to hang up his cleats and being on the injured reserve for three of his four seasons in the league.

We posted this yesterday and for those who missed it CLICK HERE.

8. CONGRATS TO SATURDAY: Congratulations to former Colts center Jeff Saturday, who's going to be inducted into the team's Ring of Honor.

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

Saturday, who played at old Shamrock High in Decatur for coach Ron Gartrell, played at North Carolina and made the Colts as an undrafted rookie.

He played in 211 games with 202 starts and was a sixth-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro.

9. TRANSACTIONS. Here's a list of the Falcons transactions since Quinn was hired on Feb. 2.:

06/18/2015 -- Signed WR Carlton Mitchell; Waived WR Shane Wynn

06/15/2015 -- Released OT Sam Baker

06/02/2015 -- Signed LB Boris Anyama

05/30/2015 -- Signed G Chris Chester; Waived LB Derrick Malone Jr.

05/29/2015 -- Waived LB Prince Shembo

05/14/2015 -- Signed T Tyler Polumbus

05/13/2015 -- Waived OT Cody Clay

05/11/2015 -- Signed DE Sam Meredith

05/10/2015 -- Signed T Matt Huffer and DB Jonathon Mincy; waived DT Chris Brown, CB Jordan Ozerities, and WR Joshua Stangby

05/06/2015 -- Agreed to terms with North Texas LB Derek Akunne, Tarleton State DT Chris Brown, Central Oklahoma WR Marquez Clark, Azusa Pacific University OL Cody Clay, Louisville S Terell Floyd, Northern Arizona TE Beau Gardner, Wisconsin DT Warren Herring, Fort Valley State CB Mike Lee, Cincinnati T Eric Lefeld, Oregon LB Derrick Malone, Houston DT Joey Mbu, Central Florida CB Jordan Ozerities, Florida Atlantic S Damian Parms, Ottawa University WR Joshua Stangby, Auburn S Robenson Therezie, New Mexico State C Valerian Ume-Ezeoke, Oregon State RB Terron Ward, Texas Christian CB Kevin White, and Indiana WR Shane Wynn.

05/04/2015 -- Signed FB Collin Mooney

05/03/2015 -- Waived TE Kyle Miller

05/02/2015 -- Selected ECU WR Justin Hardy with the No. 107 overall pick; Selected Clemson DT Grady Jarrett with the No. 137 overall pick; Selected Eastern Washington OT Jake Rodgers with the No. 225 overall pick; Selected San Jose State CB Akeem King with the No. 249 overall pick

05/01/2015 -- Selected LSU CB Jalen Collins with the No. 42 overall pick; Selected Indiana RB Tevin Coleman with the No. 73 overall pick

05/01/2015 -- Waived S Brandon Bishop, OL Reid Fragel, CB Jordan Mabin, LB/DE Jacques Smith and RB Ronnie Wingo

04/30/2015 -- Drafted Clemson DE Vic Beasley Jr. with No. 8 overall selection in 2015 Draft

04/02/2015 -- Waived S Zeke Motta

03/19/2015 -- Signed TE Tony Moeaki

03/19/2015 -- Signed TE Jacob Tamme

03/18/2015 -- Re-signed DE Kroy Biermann; Signed OL Jared Smith

03/12/2015 -- Agreed to terms with LB O'Brien Schofield

03/12/2015 -- Agreed to terms with DE Adrian Clayborn and CB Phillip Adams

03/11/2015 -- Signed WR Leonard Hankerson

03/10/2015 -- Agreed to terms with LB Justin Durant, LB Brooks Reed, G Mike Person and RB Antone Smith

03/10/2015 -- Signed QB TJ Yates to contract extension

03/07/2015 -- Signed WR Eric Weems to contract extension

03/05/2015 -- Signed S Charles Godfrey to contract extension

02/27/2015 -- Waived DE Jonathan Massaquoi

02/27/2015 -- Released G Justin Blalock

02/27/2015 -- Released WR Harry Douglas

02/26/2015 -- Released RB Steven Jackson

02/25/2015 -- Signed K Matt Bryant to contract extension

02/24/2015 -- Signed DL Cliff Matthews and FB Patrick DiMarco to contract extensions; Signed free-agent WR Nick Williams

02/13/2015 --Signed LB Allen Bradford

02/02/2015 -- Hired Dan Quinn as club's 16th head coach


VIDEO: Meet Falcons 2nd round pick CB Jalen Collins

VIDEO: Meet Falcons 3rd round pick RB Tevin Coleman

VIDEO: Meet Falcons 4th round pick WR Justin Hardy

VIDEO: Meet Falcons 5th round pick DT Grady Jarrett

VIDEO: Meet Falcons 7th round pick OT Jake Rodgers

VIDEO: Meet Falcons 7th round pick CB Akeem King


Falcons pick Vic Beasley, pass on Todd Gurley

Scouting report: Vic Beasley the next DeMarcus Ware or a one-trick pony?

Explore A round-by-round look at the Falcons' draft

Grady Jarrett escapes fire before Falcons draft him

MARK BRADLEY COLUMN: Vic Beasley: The right pick at the right time

JEFF SCHULTZ COLUMN: Falcons' Quinn determined to fix pass rush in draft

STEVE HUMMER feature on first-round pick Vic Beasley

Falcons add CB Jalen Collins in the second round

Falcons add RB Tevin Coleman in the third round

Falcons' draft bios round 2 through 7

PHOTO GALLERY: Meet the Falcons draft class


Vic Beasley plans to be a double-digit sack guy

Thomas Dimitroff and Dan Quinn on the first round of the draft

Falcons coach Dan Quinn on 4th round pick WR Justin Hardy

Dimitroff and Quinn on 5th round pick DT Grady Jarrett

Quinn on 7th round pick OT Jake Rodgers

Dimitroff and Quinn on 7th round pick CB Akeem King

Dimitroff and Quinn after Day 3 of the draft