According to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com, “there is a general sense” around the Falcons that they could have an agreement in place on a long-term contract with WR Julio Jones before the start of training camp on July 31.
However, McClure mentions that the two parties have yet to have yet to start negotiations on an extension with Jones, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract.
Yesterday, the Cowboys and Broncos set the market for receivers moving forward when they signed Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas to similar five-year agreements worth around $70 million and close to $45 million guaranteed.
Jones has said previously that he wouldn’t hold out for a new contract.
“I’m not going to hold out for anything,” Jones said a month ago. “My teammates need me. I’m being selfish if I’m not here and doing what I need to do.”
Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff told reporters a few months ago that they are hoping to have a long-term contract in place with Jones at some point in the “relatively near future,” but there hasn’t been any indication that they’re any closer to an agreement.
“That’s where we’ll continue to focus right now,” Dimitroff said back in May, via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “He’s an important part of making sure that we get things accomplished in the relatively near future.”
Jones, 26, finished out his four-year, $16.183 million rookie contract, but the Falcons protected themselves by picking up his fifth-year option that will pay him a non-guaranteed salary of $10.176 million for the 2015 season.
The Falcons can still negotiate a long-term deal that will reduce his 2015 cap figures and keep him under team control for the foreseeable future, even after the season has gotten underway.
In 2014, Jones caught 104 passes for 1,593 yards receiving and six touchdowns over the course of 15 games. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 6 receiver out of 110 qualifying players this past season.