By now every NFL fan knows that Atlanta Falcons star wide receiver, Julio Jones, will not be reporting to mandatory minicamp. Look, it is completely fair for every working professional, including doctors, people in finance, athletes, etc. to try to make as much as money as possible. And Jones is an incredibly talented receiver but here’s why the Falcons shouldn’t budge and sign him to an extension.
Contract Extension With Julio Jones Should Not Be In Atlanta Falcons Immediate Plans
Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said the following in a statement released Monday.
“We have been in contact with Julio and his representation,” Dimitroff said.”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. Although not ideal, Julio informed us today he would not be attending mini-camp. We have much respect for him and what he means to our team, our city and our fans.”
The former Alabama standout has only played two seasons on his current five-year, $71.25 million deal which included $47 million guaranteed. That means Jones still has three years left on his current contract. True, that $47 million in guaranteed money is the same amount that Jarvis Landry received after being traded from the Miami Dolphins to the Cleveland Browns and Jones is the superior player when comparing the two. But restructuring a deal with three years left isn’t good business and that’s why it doesn’t really happen in the NFL.
The Falcons want to be careful about tying up too much money/salary cap space in one position, especially receiver. This is particularly true since their quarterback, Matt Ryan, is in the middle of a five-year, $150 million deal with $100 million guaranteed. The reason Ryan was able to sign a new deal is because he’s a quarterback and he had only one year left on his deal. The NFL is a hard salary cap league and a team having too much money dedicated to one or two players historically does not work out well.
Wide Receiver Is Overvalued
Sure, wide receivers are entertaining to watch and they can make some amazing plays, especially receivers of Jones’ caliber. Receivers are also really fun from a fantasy perspective. But a team doesn’t necessarily need a top-end pass catcher to get to and win a Super Bowl. To get to the big game a team needs an above average quarterback (ideally a top ten signal caller), a good offensive line and a good defense that can get pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Receivers are like seat warmers in your car, really nice to have and they can absolutely be useful, but they’re certainly not needed.
For now Jones is only missing minicamp, which, for a veteran player, won’t wind up being a huge deal. As long as he’s ready for the regular season, that’s all that matters. And with contracts being completely in favor of teams/owners and not the players, it is really understandable that Jones wants to maximize his money making while he feels he can. No one should be upset with Jones, but if the Falcons are smart they won’t restructure his deal right now.