Falcons receiver Julio Jones. AJC file photo/David Barnes

NFL Network analyst: ‘Julio Jones is the Falcons’ offense’

NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football” analyzed Atlanta Falcons’ wide receiver Julio Jones’s decision to not attend the team’s mandatory minicamp Tuesday through Thursday.

Former NFL player Nate Burleson said Jones isn’t letting himself be dominated by feelings, but rather he’s focused on getting the money he deserves.

“When you’re an average player, you can look at this guy and say, ‘Just shut up and play ball. Your contract’s going to come when it comes. Hopefully you’re healthy and you’ll hit the market at the right time,’” Burleson said. “But when you’re one of the best in the game… you have the right to say, ‘No, wait a minute, I need to be paid as the best wide receiver in football. I don’t care if the market changes,’ and I don’t care if he’s three or four years away from the end of his deal. That’s the way it goes.

“And I’m okay with him standing up. It might not get done right now, but the message is sent.”

Following Burleson’s approval of Jones’ decision to ask for a new contract, analyst Peter Schrager agreed the request is warranted because Jones is the best player in the NFC South outside of the quarterback position.

“To me, Julio Jones is the Falcons’ offense,” Schrager said. “As much as we love Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, if there ever was to be an argument for a guy that’s a playmaker from the wide receiver position, I do believe it’s Julio Jones. And he can say, ‘This offense runs through me. Without me, this is a mediocre offense. With me, it’s one of the best offenses in the League.”

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