Julio Jones has been informed the Atlanta Falcons are not in position to address his contract in 2018.
The All-Pro wide receiver has been away from the team during the offseason, which began with Jones causing consternation in Atlanta by deleting references to the team on his social media accounts.
Jones, who signed a five-year, $71 million deal in 2015, could become a priority after the upcoming season.
Head coach Dan Quinn said during minicamp he was confident the sides were headed toward a resolution.
“The good news is that there are conversations that have begun,” Quinn said. “We’ll keep those private. I have a lot of faith in the organization and also in Julio that things will get resolved with good communications. I’m sure that’ll be a part of it as well.”
Atlanta spent big this offseason to re-sign quarterback Matt Ryan — currently the highest-paid player in the NFL at $30 million per season — and prioritized new deals for other players, including defensive tackle Grady Jarrett and offensive tackle Jake Matthews, among others.
Jones, a five-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro, has 585 receptions for 9,054 yards and 43 touchdowns during his seven NFL seasons. He is coming off a 2017 season in which the 29-year-old caught 88 passes for 1,444 yards, but only three touchdowns.
According to a report by The Athletic, the Falcons discussed their financial situation and the need for Jones to wait in line.
Jones said in May during an interview with TMZ that there is “no story, no bad blood” because “I’m not going anywhere.”
Without moving the contract burden to next season with a salary-to-bonus conversion, addressing Jones and others with new deals will be difficult given the Falcons have less than $6 million in salary cap space entering training camp.
—Field Level Media