Atlanta Falcons owner on Julio Jones: ‘We expect Julio to be lifer’

The Atlanta Falcons are in the midst of attempting to lock up wide receiver Julio Jones with a contract extension, but owner Arthur Blank would like to take things a step further.

Speaking about the negotiations with Jones and his “very professional agent,” Blank spoke in glowing terms about the receiver. He also said he hopes the elite receiver never leaves Atlanta.

We expect Julio to be lifer for the Falcons,” Blank said, via Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We are moving forward and have every reason to be positive and be enthusiastic about it…The player has been fabulous. He came into camp in great shape. He’s working all-out. There is no hesitation or question on his part.”

That the Falcons would like Jones to be a long-term fixture with the franchise should surprise no one. He is clearly one of the game’s top wide receivers and has developed tremendous chemistry with quarterback Matt Ryan.

Blessed with prototypical size, speed, agility and soft hands, Jones can do it all on the field. Even after missing a game last season, he put together a career year, catching 104 passes for 1.593 yards and six touchdowns. Despite missing more than half of the 2013 campaign, in his first four seasons, the former Alabama standout has averaged 70 receptions, 1,083 yards and seven touchdowns per season.

Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas recently set the bar for elite receivers in the current market, signing contracts that total $70 million over five years. Blank doesn’t see that benchmark as problematic, however, and he understands Jones is in the same bracket.

“I think whatever the market is,” Blank said. “We look at Julio as certainly being in that class. The specifics, his length of contract and where he is in his contract terms is different than those players were. All of that needs to be built into the new deal that is done. We view him as one of the top receivers in the NFL and we think that most people do as well.”

Indeed Mr. Blank is correct.

No doubt Jones appreciates the public support from his owner. However, there is also no doubt he’d appreciate the big fat cash bonus he’ll receive when he signs his new contract even more.

Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports