Falcons’ Jones to skip training camp in contract dispute

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) did not attend the team's minicamp.Photo Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (file photo)

The Atlanta Falcons will open training camp on Thursday without five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Julio Jones.

Jones will not report to camp in a bid to have his contract re-worked, multiple media outlets reported on Tuesday. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Jones is comfortable sitting out all of camp.

The Falcons previously said that they would not adjust the deal for Jones, who could be fined up to $40,000 for each day he misses. The team’s first practice is Friday.

Jones is set to make $10.5 million in 2018 in the third season of a five-year, $71.25 million contract extension he signed in 2015.

The 29-year-old Jones elected against participating in the Falcons’ voluntary offseason program and did not attend the team’s mandatory minicamp. He did attend quarterback Matt Ryan’s passing camp with other teammates, however.

The Falcons could use the franchise tag for two years on Jones and, per multiple reports, are prioritizing extensions for players entering the final year of their contracts. Those players are defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, offensive tackle Jake Matthews and safety Ricardo Allen, per NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Jarrett is entering the final year of his rookie deal while Allen is working on his second-round tender as a restricted free agent. Matthews is on the fifth-year option of his rookie contract.

Jones is coming off another huge season with 88 receptions for 1,444 yards, although he only reached the end zone three times.

It marked the fourth consecutive season in which Jones amassed at least 1,400 yards receiving and the fifth time in seven campaigns that he has eclipsed 1,000 yards.

Jones has appeared in 95 regular-season games for the Falcons, recording 585 catches for 9,054 yards and 43 touchdowns since being selected with the sixth overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft.

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Update: Falcons owner Arthur Blank told The Athletic that he currently is content to leave the matter in the hands of general manager Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Dan Quinn.

"I have full faith in (Dimitroff and Quinn) to handle this in the best manner that is feasible for us," Blank said. "We love Julio, and I have said our wishes are that he be a Falcon for life. As always, I am available to our staff as needed and at appropriate times."

Jones elected against participating in the Falcons' voluntary offseason program and did not attend the team's mandatory minicamp. He did attend quarterback Matt Ryan's passing camp with other teammates, however.



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