What the Facts Say
He only scored three touchdowns last season. Jones is injury prone. He isn’t as good as Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham, or Deandre Hopkins. He doesn’t deserve a new contract extension.
Julio Jones and Marvin Harrison. You might be asking what those two have in common? They are the only two receivers in NFL history to have 4 consecutive seasons with over 1,400 receiving yards.
Jones will not report to training camp as he is seeking a contract extension. He is likely seeking an extension because if he were to suffer a career ending injury he has no more money guaranteed on his current contract, or it could be that he is narrowly on the edge of not being in the top 10 of highest paid at his position. Let’s face it, Jones is arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL today.
You may say that Jones is being selfish as he has three years left on his current contract. Generally speaking, players don’t seek or get an extension until they have 1-2 years left. However, when a player gets cut with three years left on their contract nobody bats an eye.
Some may argue that Jones is injury prone. Why would you pay up for a 29-year-old injury prone wide receiver when he has three years left on his current contract? In fact, in the last four years, Jones and Antonio Brown have both only missed 3 games. Antonio Brown is injury prone, said no-one ever. He is the highest paid receiver in the NFL.
The argument that Brown is a better receiver than Jones usually comes down to Brown being more effective in the end zone. In his 8 year career, Brown has scored 59 touchdowns. In Julio’s 7 year career he has only scored 43. Over their careers, Brown has caught 148 more receptions than Jones has. On average it takes Antonio Brown 12.4 receptions per touchdowns he scores. Jones averages a touchdown every 13.6 times he catches the football. Not that big of a difference when you break it down. Touchdowns aren’t a great way to decide who should get a contract extension and who shouldn’t.
What the Stats Say
Another edge that Jones has on his peers is playoff stats. See the list below comparing the players who most see as the top receivers in the game today.
Julio Jones: 8 games – 81 targets – 6 touchdowns
Antonio Brown: 10 games – 81 targets – 4 touchdowns
Deandre Hopkins: 3 games – 29 targets – 1 touchdown
Odell Beckham Jr.: 1 game – 11 targets – 0 touchdowns
The Wrap Up
The Falcons were vocal in letting Jones know that they would renegotiate his contract after the 2018 season. This goes against their policy of not redoing contracts until one year is remaining. Jones has vocalized during all of this contract “drama” that he wants to retire a Falcon. Arthur Blank, the Atlanta Falcons Owner, also recently expressed that Jones will be a Falcon for life. A contract extension is destined to get done soon, if not before the regular season commences. Look for Jones to suit up week 1, looking to extend his streak of 1,400 yard receiving seasons.