As OTAs wind down, the Falcons first part of the mandatory schedule begins in less than a week. Minicamp will give the coaches a first-hand look at some of the positional battles that will be going on this offseason – particularly at cornerback and on the offensive line. It should be the first time the whole team is together. But as with anything mandatory, the flashy headlines will be about those who are absent.
The Falcons are not normally a team that has had difficulties with players holding out. Julio Jones was absent from team activities for a good while last year. Eventually, he returned in late July before training camp after the Falcons adjusted his deal. But other than that one incident, Atlanta has done a pretty good job at keeping their players happy.
This season, four notable players skipped OTAs – Vic Beasley, Julio Jones, Deion Jones, and Grady Jarrett. Julio and Jarrett are both looking for contract extensions, so their absences were unsurprising. Both Jones’ have also been finalizing some rehab. The reason for Beasley playing hooky are unknown to the common folk, but Dan Quinn did acknowledge the situation as “disappointing.” The Falcons coach said after they decided to keep Beasley for $12.8 million that he could not wait to be more “hands-on” with the former #8 overall pick. The feeling must not have been mutual.
However, according to what Quinn said today, he expects both Julio Jones and Vic Beasley to be present for the first day of mandatory minicamp (June 11th). On Jones, Quinn also said that he hadn’t been away from the team. He’s been a part of team-building events, even when he could not participate because of his injured foot. This is all coming from Jeff Schultz of The Athletic. Schultz also reported a little over a month ago that the Falcons and Jones are not far off from a contract extension that will make him the highest paid receiver in the league.
That is the positive news; negatively, Dan Quinn was not as encouraging when speaking on Grady Jarret’s potential holdout. He said, “I don’t know yet. I anticipate he will. He hasn’t told me he’s not.” Not quite as confident for a person who is usually as upbeat as any coach for the media. It shouldn’t shock anybody if he does miss some time. There hasn’t been a lot of news surrounding a potential contract extension between Jarrett and the Falcons. All that we know is the Falcons want to get a long-term deal done, but Jarrett is looking for Aaron Donald money. Unless he drops his asking price significantly, this could go on for a while.
With that said, Jarrett has always been a notorious team-first player, dating back to his days at Clemson. Even if he does opt to hold out, I wouldn’t expect it to last into training camp let alone the regular season. Jarrett is also under contract for $15.2 million in 2019 and has yet to cash in on a lucrative contract in his career; there is no way he is missing one of those game checks worth nearly $1 million each.