With agent Jimmy Sexton reportedly on his way to Atlanta, the contract talks for Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones appear to be heating up after months of negotiations.
“NFL league sources told me Jimmy Sexton ... the agent for Falcons WR Julio Jones ... is headed to Atlanta to visit with Falcons and try to lock down a deal this week,” according to a tweet Monday by Zach Klein, sports director of Channel 2 Action News.
Jones is set to speak to the media after practice Tuesday and likely won’t have to answer questions about his contract if the deal does get done.
Falcons president Rich McKay gave an update on the negotiations Thursday.
“It’s really different than any typical negotiation,” McKay said on the Falcons’ pregame show on 92.9 FM The Game to announcers Dave Archer and Wes Durham. “The thing about Julio is that he’s the ultimate professional. He’s really tried to handle it the right way. He’s been in. He’s worked hard. He’s ready to go.”
The Falcons have been working on an extension for the six-time Pro Bowl selection, who’s on the verge of breaking the team’s all-time yards receiving mark.
The wide receiver market shifted when the Saints signed Michael Thomas to a five-year, $96.25 million deal that has the potential to surpass the $100 million mark based on performance bonuses on the back end of the contract.
Thomas, a second-round pick out of Ohio State in 2016, is 26. He’s had three 1,000 yard seasons to start his career and was named to two Pro Bowl teams and was All-Pro last season.
Jones said recently that Sexton was still in the process of negotiating his contract extension. Sexton has not responded to several email and phone calls requesting an interview.
Jones’ age probably will be a factor as it wouldn’t be prudent for the Falcons to have Jones on the books at age 34, 35 and 36 with a big-money deal. Former Falcons great Roddy White played until he was 34.
Several experts projected that Jones’ deal would be a three-year deal, and worth $51.8 million, with $33 million guaranteed at signing, according to Spotrac.
The Falcons agreed to improve Jones’ contract after it was adjusted July 27, 2018.
Jones’ deal has two years remaining, with the dynamic receiver scheduled to make $9.6 million in 2019 and $11.4 million in 2020
“Then the nice thing about Arthur is that he doesn’t play the game,” McKay said. “He’s said, our intent to have Julio play and be an Atlanta Falcons for life. That’s what we are going to work toward. When you have common goals and you treat it that way, traditional things get done and good things happen.”
But what’s taking so long?
“Sometimes, it’s hard,” McKay said. “It’s just hard sometimes because you know, an agent will get involved, but when you have professionals like we’ve had in this relationship in Julio’s situation, things have gotten done. They got done last year and they’ll get done this year. That is certainly our intent.”
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