Pro Bowler Julio Jones Will Skip Atlanta Falcons' Mandatory Minicamp: What's The Problem?

By Fitzgerald Cecilio
on Jun 12, 2018 10:05 PM EDT
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The Atlanta Falcons will miss its top wide receiver, Julio Jones, when they hold their mandatory camp on Tuesday.

In a statement, the Falcons confirmed that Jones will not join the three-day minicamp, which will last until Thursday.

"Although not ideal, Julio informed us today he would not be attending minicamp," said Thomas Dimitroff, Falcons general manager.

Despite Jones's decision, the Falcons said they still respect the wide receiver and what he means to the team, the city, and the fans.

According to Dimitroff, the Falcons have been in contact with Jones and his representation but they refused to discuss their conversations publicly. However, the Falcons said initial talks were "productive and constructive."

Jimmy Sexton, Jones's agent, was not on the same page with the team's pronouncement. In an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Sexton says Jones's camp will not comment publicly about the situation and will allow the Falcons say what they want to say on the matter.

Julio Jones Wants Updated Contract With Falcons

Nick Shook of NFL said that Jones's absence has to do with his desire to get his current contract updated. In 2015, Jones signed a five-year deal worth $71.25 million with the Falcons.

This season, Jones will receive a base salary of $10.5 million and $12.5 million in 2019. However, the contract became outdated as other top receivers signed bigger deals than the 29-year-old Jones.

Jones's average annual salary of $14.25 million ranks 8th in the league, behind other wide receivers Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Mike Evans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, DeAndre Hopkins of the Houston Texans, Sammy Watkins of the Kansas City Chiefs, Jarvis Landry of the Cleveland Browns, A.J. Green of the Cincinnati Bengals, and Davante Adams of the Green Bay Packers.

Falcons Signs QB Matt Ryan To Record Deal

The Falcons recently signed quarterback Matt Ryan to a record five-year deal worth $150 million, with $94.5 million in guaranteed money. With Ryan's signing, the Falcons only have $7.2 million in available salary cap space, which they can use to update Jones's deal.

If Jones remains true to his word, he will be subjected to fines and penalties for missing the mandatory portion of the offseason workout program. However, the team has the option of waiving the fines and penalties if the wide receiver agrees to rejoin the squad.

Last season, Jones caught 88 passes for 1,444 yards and three touchdowns.

Photo: Steven Welch of Georgia National Guard | Flickr 

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