With the news of Zeke Elliot’s signing this morning, all eyes are on the Falcons and Julio Jones. Now, the week of the Atlanta Falcons first game, the question has shifted to if Julio Jones will be playing on Sunday when the team takes the field against the Minnesota Vikings.
Coming into this week, Julio Jones has stayed silent on this matter. He hasn’t stated whether he will or he won’t play in Sunday’s game against the Vikings. If I had to state an opinion, I would say Julio will be on the field, new contract or not. That is pure opinion bases on the way Julio has carried himself his entire career. That said, the Falcons and fans won’t know until there is a new contract signed or Julio is on the field ready to play when the team takes the field on Sunday.
The grumblings of Julio Jones’ new contract have been floating around since last season. To correct the situation last season, the Falcons restructured Julio’s contract to pay him 2.9 million dollars in 2018. That money was moved from his 2019 deal, in a nod and wink deal that Julio would be getting a new contract this summer. As of today, four days from the first game of the season, Julio remains without a new deal.
To add another wrinkle into Julio and the Falcons plans for negotiating was when Michael Thomas agreed to a five-year, 100 million dollar contract with the New Orleans Saints. However, the important number with that deal was the 61 million in guarantees for Thomas. Thomas is younger, but not more productive throughout their careers. Nonetheless, agreeing to that deal set the market for Julio Jones and the Atlanta Falcons.
Arthur Blank made news earlier this offseason by stating that Julio Jones would be a Falcons player for life. Thomas Dimitroff has stated on multiple occasions, including last Thursday in the Falcons final preseason game, that a deal would get done before the season begins. Julio’s camp seems set on getting a deal done. It’s going to happen. We just don’t know when.
For the entirety of his career, Julio Jones has been the antithesis of the diva wide receiver. He’s quiet, cares about his teammates, and always shows up. I don’t see Julio completely changing his attitude this week if a deal is not struck before Sunday. I expect, like most fans of the Falcons, for Julio to be on the field when the Falcons start their season. I would be shocked if he wasn’t. A deal will get done, eventually. For now, we can all worry about the Minnesota Vikings.