Julio Jones has his long awaited, long-term deal signed, sealed and delivered.
The Atlanta Falcons star wide receiver signed an extension with the team on Saturday worth $66 million extension, all of which is all guaranteed. A whopping $64 million of which is due at signing, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN and it will keep him with the team for the next five seasons.
The guarantee makes the deal unique. According to Schefter, 97 percent of the deal is guaranteed at signing. The previous high on that front for a non-QB was Trey Flowers at just 74 percent.
Schefter said an NFL executive told him that Jones’ contract could be a shift toward NBA-type deals, where all of the money is guaranteed.
Jones had two years left of his previous deal and was due $9.6 million and $11.426 million in those seasons, respectively. He wanted a new deal but said he had faith in Falcons owner Arthur Blank.
“Mr. Blank gave us his word,” Jones said. “That’s golden. … [Blank’s] word is that it’s going to get done. … There’s no stress on my end. I’m not thinking about it.”
The deal is a testament to Jones’ talent. He’s averaged just a shade under 1,600 yards per season over his last six seasons, making the Pro Bowl every year over that span.
His largest output came in 2015, when he led the NFL with 1,871 yards and 136 catches. He also led the league in receiving yards last season with 1,677 yards.
How Does Julio Jones’ Deal Stack up With Other Star Wide Receivers Like Michael Thomas & Odell Beckham
At $22 million per year, Jones will be far and away the highest paid wide receiver in the league, resetting the market.
It was just over a month ago that Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas inked a five-year, $100 million deal. Now with Jones’ payday, the two highest paid wide receivers reside in the NFC South.
Thomas signed a five-year contract extension worth $100 million with $61 million in new guaranteed money and a $20 million signing bonus. According to Over the Cap, Thomas was due $19.25 million per season.
Before those two deals, Browns wide receive Odell Beckham Jr. was the highest paid receiver when it came to annual salary at $18 million. He signed his deal with the Giants during the 2018 offseason.
Who’s Next: Is it Cowboys Star Amari Cooper, or Does a Team Take a Chance With Antonio Brown?
The next wide receiver due for a big deal seems to be Cowboys pass-catcher Amari Cooper, who is entering the final year of his rookie deal. The sides in Dallas have been negotiating a new deal this offseason, but it appears there has been little progress.
Julio’s deal will now complicate things further.
“There haven’t been a lot of negotiations with Amari (Cooper), period. And I’m not free to be able to share why,” Stephen Jones said, per the Dallas Morning News. “I think at some point we’ll start that. I don’t know what their parameters will be.”
Antonio Brown was released by the Raiders on Saturday after an offseason filled with drama — from frostbitten feet to calling his GM a “cracker” and threatening him with violence.
Before releasing him, Schefter reported that Oakland fined Brown $215,000, and then voided all of his guaranteed money throughout his three-year extension, worth nearly $30 million. That was ultimate the reason for the messy divorce between Brown and the Raiders.
There’s no doubt Brown has talent. According to ESPN Stats and Information, Julio Jones has recorded 698 receptions and 10,731 receiving yards since entering the league in 2011. The only player with more receptions or receiving yards than Jones during that span is — of course — Brown.
It’s unknown if a team will take a chance on Brown but it will almost certainly not be for any amount close to the top tier wide receivers after the show he put on in Oakland.