Julio Jones will not be in attendance when Atlanta Falcons training camp begins this week. NFL insider Chris Mortensen reports the star wide receiver is still not satisfied with his current contract situation.
Julio Jones does not plan to report to Falcons on schedule Thursday without an adjustment to his contract, which has three years remaining, per league sources. He is set to make $10.5 million in 2018. The team is aware of his mindset at this time.— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) July 24, 2018
Reports indicate the Falcons have promised to work on Jones’ contract after this season but apparently that’s not good enough.
Here’s what out friends over at The Falcoholic had to say about this situation:
With the Falcons holding firm and refusing to address Julio’s contract dispute prior to the 2018 season, it’s unclear what the end result here is. Unless Julio is fully prepared to miss regular season games — which is highly, highly unlikely — he does not appear to have much recourse. Holding out of camp was the main leverage card he could play, and the front office countered it by simply drawing a line in the sand and punting contract talks to next offseason. With that context in mind, Julio deciding to avoid training camp comes as somewhat of a surprise. Simply: What’s the endgame? Only Julio Jones knows the answer to that one.
Jones previously skipped the Falcons’ OTA practices earlier this offseason, which were voluntary. But he also skipped mandatory minicamp, which means he was subject to fines. The same goes for training camp. Every practice missed represents an opportunity for the team to penalize the absent player. The team can always waive these few if/when a new deal is agreed upon.
Jones will receive even heavier fines if he starts to miss regular season games. It’s not a likely scenario, as The Falcoholic noted, but it’s not unprecedented.
If Jones even misses just one game, it’ll be a big loss for Atlanta. The Falcons have a key game against the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles in Week 1. Jones had nine receptions for 101 yards against Philadelphia in the NFC Divisional Round last year. He almost made a potential game-winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter as well.
I’m sure the Eagles won’t be counting on Jones missing Week 1. But you never know. At the very least, this is a situation worth keeping an eye on.
Philadelphia knows all too well about star receivers asking for a new deal while already having multiple existing years on their current contract. It doesn’t always end up pretty.