Falcons Report: Arthur Blank provides more details regarding the Julio Jones trade

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Julio Jones is back in the headlines as Arthur Blank sat down with The Athletic for an interview in which the former Falcons wide receiver was brought up. In the interview, Blank admitted he was befuddled by the All-Pro wideout’s sudden discontent with organization, which led to missed practices, and eventually, a strained relationship. This, from Jeff Schultz’s piece:

Specifically, when asked about large contracts he awarded to Falcons players, Blank said, “It’s easy to look back with hindsight and say, ‘Should we have done that?’ Look back at the Julio situation in 2019. We, being Thomas, coach Quinn, the player and his agent (Jimmy Sexton), were all kind of at odds with each other. We got a contract done. We felt it was very generous. It made him the top paid receiver in NFL history (with $64 million of $66 million guaranteed). But for whatever reason, he felt it wasn’t sufficient respect. I don’t know why he’d feel that way, but he did feel that way.”

Schultz: And the relationship was never the same?

“No. Not really. It changed,” Blank said. “And if you spoke to the players on the team, not that they would say anything, but I think they would tell you the same thing.

Obviously, there are always two sides to every story, and Julio Jones has yet to speak out about what specifically was bothering him. In fact, it is reasonable to expect Jones to try and move on from this without ever addressing it publicly; I wouldn’t be shocked if we didn’t hear his side until after he retires.

This seems awfully uncharacteristic of Jones, who was highly touted as a player but also a person. While many receivers — i.e., Antonie Brown — around the league consistently show their ass, Jones always seemed to go about his business without saying a word. Clearly, this is just how the public sees him, and it isn’t fair to assume that is how he is behind closed doors. Jones is his own person and doesn’t need your, my, or Blank’s approval.

Still, it seems peculiar that this happened the way it did. Jones was paid an exorbitant amount of money at his age, even if his production was still elite. Teams don’t pay players for what they’ve done, rather what they will do. Assuming Jones got what he wanted, where could have this rift come from? It had to be at the negotiating table or in the backroom afterward. Something was gestured, said, or done that made Jones feel disrespected. I feel strongly in saying there is no chance that nothing was said or done to make Jones feel this way. Regardless, this was completely unexpected and left many Falcons fans in denial for months when rumors surfaced that their favorite Falcon of all-time wanted to play for a different team.

My advice is to relish in the good times and appreciate what Julio Jones gave the city of Atlanta. He’ll be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and it would be a shame if this squabble escalated to a Calvin Johnson-Lions level, where Johnson didn’t even acknowledge the Detroit organization in his acceptance speech.

This is just another part of the Julio Jones saga, and I’m eager to hear more as the story further comes to light (even if you are tired of reading about Julio, get over it).


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