Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff recently mentioned that they are hoping to have a long-term contract in place with WR Julio Jones at some point in the “relatively near future.”
“That’s where we’ll continue to focus right now,” Dimitroff said, 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.”
This comes after Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones made some interesting comments about signing Dez Bryant to a long-term contract.
“I think a lot people want to naturally assume it’s a Dez Bryant-Cowboy issue. I think it’s a bigger issue than that right now,” Jones said, via the Dallas Morning News. “There’s three or four young receivers in this league other than Dez that are going to be looking for long term contracts.”
“No one has been able to really figure out what they think the market should be,” Jones said. “I think ultimately we’ll get this done. No one wants to have Dez long term involved with the Dallas Cowboys more so than our organization, Jerry and myself. Our goal is to get it done, get it done long term, so we can move forward and let Dez continue to make all the great plays he’s made up until this point.”
Jones makes an interesting point given that these four players are both in line for massive contract extensions, but their respective teams appear to be approaching negotiations with a great deal of caution.
Of course, the Cowboys and Broncos both used their franchise tags on Bryant and Thomas, while Falcons and Bengals have their receivers playing out the 2015 season under their fifth-year options.
It would be surprising to see a few of them receive the franchise tag next year if talks don’t progress in the coming months.
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 exercising his option.
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.