Julio Jones isn't expected to be in attendance for Atlanta's organized team activities on Monday, and it's not a big deal -- or is it?
Jones was in and out of OTAs last offseason with no detriment to the Falcons, and the situation appears similar this time around, per NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. But there's an additional wrinkle that could make what seems clear somewhat murky.
Jones, a wideout who has posted four straight seasons of at least 1,400 receiving yards, wants an update to his contract, which is scheduled to pay him $10.5 million in 2018, Rapoport reported. The star receiver sat down in 2015 to sign his deal, which is a somewhat backloaded contract with his largest single base salary coming in the second-to-last year of the pact (2019) at $12.5 million. Jones' average annual salary ($14.25 million) places him eighth in the league at the position, behind Antonio Brown, Mike Evans, DeAndre Hopkins, Sammy Watkins, Jarvis Landry, A.J. Green and Davante Adams (per Over The Cap). That list alone proves his deal has become outdated.
Typically, contract issues tend to create at least a little friction between employer and employee. That isn't the case here, as there is no ill will between the two sides and the Falcons seem willing to consider an update, per Rapoport.
Additionally, Jones, who's been training at Alabama, has been in regular communication with Falcons coach Dan Quinn. The team is OK with his work away from Flowery Branch, Georgia, where the franchise is headquartered, Rapoport added.
Jones could stay away for the entire voluntary portion of OTAs, which isn't a problem to those in charge of the Falcons. Some superstars qualify for special treatment, especially when they're the caliber of player and teammate that Jones is. The same goes for consideration of his compensation.
In short (well, seven paragraphs), don't sound the alarm bells. Jones' absence is a non-issue that just happens to include an added layer of a request for a raise. It never hurts to ask, right?