Atlanta Falcons Extend Julio Jones

Julio Jones
TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 30: Julio Jones #11 of the Atlanta Falcons runs after catching a pass during the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on December 30, 2018 in Tampa, Florida. The Falcons won 34-32. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

At long last, a deal between the Atlanta Falcons and star receiver Julio Jones has been reached. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports the Falcons are signing Jones to a three-year deal worth $66 million.

Atlanta Falcons, Julio Jones Agree to Extension

Chatter about Jones wanting a new deal with the Falcons dates back to July. Jones has long wanted to be the NFL’s highest-paid wide receiver. Now, his wish comes true. Jones’ new $66 million contract over three years has an average salary of $22 million. The $22 million salary beats New Orleans Saints‘ receiver Michael Thomas‘ deal by $2.5 million.

Julio Jones, a native of Foley, Alabama, began playing football in high school, for the Foley High School Lions. In high school, Jones played wide receiver and defensive end. A five-star recruit out of Foley in 2008, Jones committed to playing college football at the University of Alabama.

Jones quickly made a name for himself with the Crimson Tide, becoming the first true freshman wide receiver to start a game for Nick Saban. In his freshman year, Jones caught 58 passes for 924 yards and four touchdowns. Jones saw a little bit of a sophomore slump in college. His numbers in year two dropped to 43 receptions for 596 yards and four touchdowns. Julio bounced back in his junior year, though, catching 78 passes for 1,133 yards and seven touchdowns. Overall, his career numbers in college were 179 receptions for 2,653 yards and 15 touchdowns.

The Atlanta Falcons selected Jones with the sixth overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Atlanta would later sign him to a fully guaranteed $16.2 million contract. Jones has more than exceeded his lofty expectations since arriving in the NFL. As a rookie, Jones started 13 games and recorded 54 receptions for 959 yards. What stands out the most of his rookie stat line, though, is the eight touchdowns. Jones exploded in his second pro season, playing in all 16 games and registering 79 receptions for 1,198 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Throughout the past nine years, Jones has become the fastest player to ever reach 10,000 receiving yards. In those nine years with the Falcons, Jones has racked up 698 receptions for 10,731 yards and 51 touchdowns in 111 career games.

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