Falcons star wide receiver Julio Jones does not plan to report for the start of the team’s training camp on Thursday, according to a NFL Network report.
Jones can be fined $40,000 a day for not reporting to training camp. The last Falcons player to holdout was wide receiver Roddy White back in 2009. He held out for six days.
Jones and his agent, Jimmy Sexton, were informed that he would not get a new contract after the All-Pro wide receiver skipped optional and mandatory offseason activities in a contract dispute. Jones’ current contract has three years remaining.
The Falcons told Jones they have not budgeted for a renegotiation this offseason and are focused on contract extensions for defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, left tackle Jake Matthews and free safety Ricardo Allen.
Jones was informed of the team’s decision several weeks ago, following the mandatory minicamp in June, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned. Jones was also told the team may be willing to rework his contract next year, one year before they typically work on extensions.
Jones is “comfortable sitting out the entire time,” according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
The Falcons, generally considered Super Bowl contenders with Jones on board, are set to report to training camp by 4 p.m. Thursday. The first practice is Friday.
Jones did not participate in voluntary Organized Team Activities and a mandatory three-day minicamp this summer after the market for wide receivers changed drastically in the offseason.
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). He’s set to be the ninth-highest paid wide receiver in the league, but has three years remaining on the deal.
Jones is not happy with his contract as the market shifted over the offseason with deals signed by Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans (five year, $82.5 million), Cleveland’s Jarvis Landry (five year, $75-million) and Kansas City’s Sammy Watkins (three-year, $48 million). Now add the deal the Rams gave Brandin Cooks (five year, $80 million) last week.
The Falcons publicly stated they were optimistic a resolution would be made before training camp.
“We have been in contact with Julio and his representation,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said in a statement released in June following Jones’ decision not to attend the mandatory camp. “We will not discuss those conversations publicly except to say we feel they have been productive and constructive. We understand the concerns and thoughts from their perspective.”
Sexton, who did not immediately return messages, responded at the time.
“I’m not going to comment publicly about the situation,” Sexton told the AJC. “I’m going to let them say whatever they want to say.”
Jones joined quarterback Matt Ryan and other receivers in California for a passing camp last week. Ryan said at the end of minicamp he believed Jones would take part in the camp, abbreviated and later in the year this summer due to the birth of Ryan’s twins. Jones was pictured with 10 others, including Ryan, in a post on first-round draft pick Calvin Ridley’s social media account.
The Falcons gave White a six-year, $50 million contract extension, with $18 million guaranteed, in 2009 after a six-day holdout. White had one year remaining on his contract before the new deal was reached.
2018 AVERAGE PER YEAR FOR WRs
1. Antonio Brown, Steelers: $17 million
2. Mike Evans, Bucs: $16.5 million
3. Brandin Cooks, Rams: $16 million
4. DeAndre Hopkins, Texans: $16.2 million
5. Sammy Watkins, Chiefs: $16 million
6. Jarvis Landry, Browns: $15.1 million
7. A.J. Green, Bengals: $15 million
8. Davante Adams, Packers: $14.5 million
9. Julio Jones, Falcons: $14.2 million
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