Falcons making progress on Julio Jones, Jarrett deals

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If the Atlanta Falcons have their way, two key players on both sides of the football will have security as members of the team.

The Falcons are eyeing signing wide receiver Julio Jones and defensive tackle Grady Jarrett to long-term deals, and so far, so good on the negotiations process.

"I would give you the same answer for Grady as well as Julio, which I know is a question for our fans and something we definitely want to get done," Falcons owner Arthur Blank told team reporter Kelsey Conway at the Annual League Meeting in Phoenix. "These are two incredible athletes and great players, and great team players, great with other players on the roster.

"Grady's tagging gives the ability to work on that over a longer period of time and I think there will be progress being made on that. With Julio, we're in conversations now not only with him, but his agents now. So, I think there will be progress there. It's always a matter of time, it's give and take, it takes longer than everybody wants, including the franchise, including the players. But we're making good progress I think on both."

Blank's optimism forecasts especially well for Jones, who agreed to a revised contract in July 2018. Nevertheless, the two-time All-Pro wide receiver has angled for a new deal and has two years remaining on his current contract, which pays base salaries of $9.6 million in 2019 and $11.4 million in 2020.

Jones comes off a 2018 season where he totaled 113 catches for 1,677 yards and eight touchdowns. He recorded his sixth career 1,000-yard season to earn a Pro Bowl selection, the sixth such honor on his eight-year career.

As for Jarrett, who received the franchise designation on March 4, the Falcons have until the league-wide July 15 deadline to work out a long-term deal. Should the two sides not reach an agreement, Jarrett would play the 2019 season earning a little more than $15 million under the tag once he signs the tender.

Falcons head coach Dan Quinn echoed Blank on the optimism that a deal would get done with Jarrett at some point during the offseason.

"We're hopeful; we certainly want to do a long-term deal with him and [keep] him a Falcon," Quinn told reporters Tuesday during the NFL Coaches Breakfast in Phoenix, via the Falcons' official website. "I hope he never graduates. He's a really impactful guy on our team. His leadership and [how] he's emerging in that way is a real factor for us."

Jarrett has become a mainstay on the defensive line since joining the Falcons as a fifth-round pick out of Clemson in 2015. Over a four-season span, Jarrett has appeared in 61 games with 41 starts, totaling 179 tackles, 14 sacks, 40 quarterback hits and three forced fumbles.

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