Yesterday, it looked like we had a deal done for a brief second. Pro Football Talk reported that he was hearing the contract extension between star receiver Julio Jones and the Atlanta Falcons was complete. That happened around 2:00 Eastern Time. A couple of hours later, Jones took the podium for his Thursday press conference, where the media littered him with questions surrounding his contract. Take a look:
LIVE: Julio Jones at the podium https://t.co/NOi5Uz1KFM
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) September 5, 2019
Jones didn’t seem too amused by many of the questions and was clearly unwilling to say he would 100% play without a contract extension in place. All he would say is his job is to be ready for Sunday and he will be with or without a new contract.
It was a disheartening interview if you are a Falcons fan. In my opinion, it’s overwhelmingly obvious that if a contract extension is not in place come Sunday, there is a chance he does not play. I know that’s not what fans want to hear, but it’s the truth, and it’s been the reality throughout this whole process.
Now, I’m not saying it’s 100% a guarantee that he does not play without a new contract. He ended the press conference by hesitantly agreeing with a reporter saying it is fair to say he will be on the football field come Sunday. This could be a game of chicken, where Jones is keeping his options open hoping it will force the Falcons to meet his contract demands and avoid a potential holdout. But I truly believe he will seriously consider sitting out until he gets his new contract and that should not surprise anyone.
On the bright side, I also think a contract extension is extremely close to being a done deal. I don’t think Pro Football Talk was reporting nonsense. There are probably a couple of minor details that need to be ironed out before it is completed. Both sides want this to happen, and Jones is as safe a bet as anyone based on his production, work ethic, and attitude towards winning. He deserves to be the highest-paid wide receiver, and the Falcons recognize that. By Sunday, I believe there will be a deal in place, but if not, it’s more than fathomable to imagine Jones not showing up for week one against the Vikings.