Falcons coach Dan Quinn has discussed wide receiver Julio Jones’ contract situation with him, but doesn’t expect Jones back with team until the mandatory minicamp in June.
“I know the topic of Mr. Julio Jones is on a number of people’s mind,” Quinn said Tuesday after the second organized team activity (OTA). “I want to let you know that Julio and I speak regularly. I was fully aware that he wasn’t going to be here for the start of the offseason program and I was also aware that he wasn’t going to be here this past Monday.”
At the owner’s meeting in March in Orlando, Quinn said he thought Jones would be a full-participate in the offseason program. Quinn was looking forward to Jones and quarterback Matt Ryan working on their timing after the two connected on only two touchdowns last season.
But Jones apparently is not happy with his contract, which makes him the eighth highest paid wide receiver in the league, but has three years remaining.
“I think like at this time of year as business grows around the NFL, I think that’s pretty common for a lot of players, to discuss that and wonder where that’s at,” Quinn said. “That’s something that he and I discussed together, but as far like anything past that, unless you guys have spoken to Julio, individually or specifically, I think past that, it would be a lot of speculation.”
Jones signed a five-year, $71.2 million contract extension Aug. 31, 2015. The deal included $47 million in guaranteed money, with base salaries of $10.5 million (2018), $12.5 million (2019) and $11.4 million (2020)
However, this offseason, Jarvis Landry landed a five-year, $75-million deal with Cleveland, Mike Evans signed a five-year, $82.5 million deal with Tampa Bay and Sammy Watkins signed a three-year, $48 million deal with Kansas City.
Also, the wide receiver market projects to continue to surge, with deals for New York Giants’ Odell Beckham Jr., Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins and Cincinnati’s A.J. Green on the horizon.
At the NFL owners meetings in Buckhead, Falcons owner Arthur Blank made a brief comment about Jones as he climbed into his SUV after a morning finance-committee meeting.
“It’s just a process we have to go through,” Blank said.
While Jones is not at the voluntary OTAs, the team is monitoring his workouts.
“He’s in great shape,” Quinn said. “He’s spending some time this offseason working on some of the things that he’s not even been able to over the last offseasons because of some injuries. But, I’ll keep the conversations that he and I had private.”
Quinn expects Jones to attend the minicamp, which is June 12-14.
“I do expect him to be here,” Quinn said. “Certainly either the minicamp at the end of the offseason program.”
Quinn is still hopeful that Jones will make some of the OTAs.
“We haven’t discussed how far or when he’d be ready to come back and get rolling with the team,” Quinn said. “We haven’t gone down that road too far. I knew he wasn’t going to be here this week. I would certainly anticipate him being here at the latest by the mandatory camp.”
Despite his position in March on looking forward to seeing Jones work in the offseason program, after he missed last season because of injury, Quinn said he wasn’t disappointed by Jones’ absence.
“I know that happens around the league for sure,” Quinn said. “For those of us (who) know Julio and the teammate that he is, there’s no disappointment on my end because I know the work that he’s putting in to get ready. I’m very comfortable with that.”
Quinn also noted that Ryan and Jones have hooked up for some private workouts in Alabama and Atlanta.
“They have not been here certainly throwing together,” Quinn said. “But certainly and their relationship has grown pretty strong over seven years. I’m fairly certain that they have connected on some time and some moments this offseason.
“Yeah, they want to do that more. That’s a big thing for those two. You guys have seen those two men work and how they put it together. That’s definitely something that they’ve discussed amongst themselves.”
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