Yesterday, the Arizona Cardinals got good news. Running back David Johnson decided to end his holdout and report to camp. The Atlanta Falcons aren’t so lucky, however. According to ESPN’s Chris Mortsensen, wideout Julio Jones won’t be reporting to camp on schedule. That’s because he’s still seeking a contract adjustment.
“Julio Jones does not plan to report to Falcons on schedule Thursday without an adjustment to his contract, which has three years remaining, per league sources. He is set to make $10.5 million in 2018. The team is aware of his mindset at this time.”
“…they have no plans to give him the raise that he is seeking before the 2018 season, but they maintain hope that Jones will report to training camp on time next week.”
In other words, this is going to get messier before it gets better.
The Falcons won’t want to (and probably aren’t going to) bend immediately. There’s going to be some push back. But the Falcons have to be careful. They need Julio Jones on the field in order to be successful. Three teams made the playoffs out of the NFC South last season. Of them, the Falcons (10-6) are arguably in a worse position than both the Saints (11-5) and Panthers (11-5). In fact, the Saints are the likely favorites to take the division.
Meanwhile, Jones is fresh off another fine season. Despite finding the end zone just three times, he racked up 1,444 yards while hauling in 88 receptions. He’s a two-time All-Pro, most recently reaching those heights in 2016. He’s made the Pro Bowl in four consecutive seasons. On his day, he’s arguably the best wideout in the league.
What are the Falcons going to do?