Despite all the talk of a Julio Jones contract extension being around the corner over the entire offseason, it took until the day before the season started for it to be finalized. Nevertheless, a deal is done, and the Falcons star receiver is the richest in football.
He signed a three-year extension worth $66 million, with $64 million of it guaranteed at signing. That means, like it or not, the Falcons will have Jones locked up for the next five years – until his age 34 season – for nearly $20 million annually. Given his track record of excellence along with the way he takes care of his body, he’s as safe a bet as anybody, but father time is undefeated, especially in the National Football League.
Diving a bit deeper into the numbers, as expected, the Falcons receive some cap relief this season, as his number is reduced to $10.6 million. However, they will be dolling out cash over the next four seasons. Jones will count more than $20 million against the cap in 2020, over $23 million in 2021, and then $19.263 in the final two years of his deal.
The Falcons haven’t been shy in locking up their core players, but they better hope most of them pan-out or difficult rebuild is going to follow. Atlanta handed Matt Ryan a well-deserved five-year, $150 million deal that also lasts through 2023. They paid Jake Mathews $75 million last offseason, and this summer alone, have extended Grady Jarrett, Deion Jones, and now Julio Jones.
Looking at that 2021 season, The Falcons will owe $78 million to Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and Grady Jarrett. There isn’t much money to go around in Atlanta any longer. Arthur Blank is banking on this group of core players to deliver the Falcons its first Super Bowl in franchise history. However, let’s hope this doesn’t turn out to be a case of the organization paying players for their past performance rather than what they are going to do in the future.