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Falcons owner: 'Very, very close' to Julio Jones deal

As the NFL world awakes to news that a Cowboys running back will ride into the sunrise of the season with a pristine, six-year extension, one of the game's elite wide receivers still waits for his new deal as kickoff looms.

Julio Jones has seemingly been very close to a contract extension all offseason, but as the real season begins for the Falcons on Sunday in Minnesota, no deal is done.

Owner Arthur Blank -- less than a week removed from general manager Thomas Dimitroff saying the team and receiver were "very close" -- said they are "very, very close," via The Athletic's Jeff Schultz.

Blank expanded that this week should be the week.

"I'd be surprised and disappointed if we didn't get it done this week," he said. "I think it's very reasonable to assume it will get done."

NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported Wednesday the Falcons reworked the contracts of Jake Matthews and Ricardo Allen as a way to create cap room. A source tells Garafolo that Atlanta is "just barely into positive space."

The 30-year-old wideout, fresh off a season in which he led the NFL in receiving yards, has attended training camp despite being vocal about wanting a new deal and having two seasons left on his current contract.

On Thursday, Dimitroff said the parties were "very close" to a contract and "we'd like to have it done as soon as possible."

Just how close remains to be seen. As in how close the two are in terms of finances and how close the Falcons and their standout WR are to putting a new deal to bed and putting all their focus on the 2019 season.

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