Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank told The Athletic on Tuesday that the team and wide receiver Julio Jones are “very, very close” to a new contract.
“I’d be surprised and disappointed if we didn’t get it done this week,” Blank said, per The Athletic. “I think it’s very reasonable to assume it will get done this week.”
Jones is scheduled to meet the media on Thursday, and the Falcons open the regular season at the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
Blank told reporters last week he was hopeful the sides could reach an agreement before the regular season began, saying the process had taken “a little more time than we’d like.”
Jones, 30, has two years remaining on his deal, which owes him $9.6 million in 2019 and $11.4 million in 2020.
He signed a contract adjustment as training camp opened last July — giving him $4.4 million, including $2.9 million from his 2019 salary, up front — and the team reportedly promised to do a full extension this offseason. That came after Jones missed the Falcons’ entire offseason program and threatened to hold out into training camp.
The 30-year-old again missed voluntary workouts this summer, but he showed for mandatory minicamp and has been present throughout the preseason. He told reporters in April he isn’t concerned with being the NFL’s highest-paid wide receiver.
But general manager Thomas Dimitroff said the Falcons fully expect that to happen in light of the new deal for New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas worth $100 million.
Entering his ninth season, Jones is coming off of his sixth Pro Bowl selection — fifth in a row — after catching 113 passes for a league-high 1,677 yards and eight touchdowns last season. He remains the NFL’s all-time leader in career receiving yards per game (96.7).