The Star Wide Receiver Wants More
NFL contracts are notorious one-way streets. They’re generally not guaranteed and the player can be cut at any time with no money owed him. But if the player outperforms his contract, he has almost no recourse. He can hold out and hope for a new deal, or he can play for less than what he perceives he might be worth in terms of skill and what the evolving market says.
So Julio Jones, the Atlanta Falcons’ standout receiver, is staying away from voluntary minicamp. That is any player’s right – if you believe anything in the NFL is voluntary. And he apparently wants a rewrite of the extension he signed three years ago that was worth $71 million.
Whether is he is right or wrong to do this is secondary to the question of if he is worth it to the Falcons.
Anyone watching the Falcons, who lost to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI, knows Jones’ skill level. But is it worth more than Atlanta has agreed to pay?
Let’s look at the money number – touchdowns. Jones caught three touchdown passes last season and six in the one before. He has compiled 9,054 receiving yards in a seven-year career and his acrobatic receptions are the stuff of highlight films, but he has 43 career touchdowns. In his first seven seasons, Roddy White caught 45 touchdown passes and the Falcons happily phased him out for Jones.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Blog doesn’t care if the Falcons pay Jones more or less. The point is this: When a player signs a long-term extension, he should be factoring in where the market is going. Smart agents do that for their clients and don’t leave them hanging on the back end of the contract.
Jones has scored 10 or more touchdowns in a season once. White did it twice. Hall of Famer Cris Carter did it six times, Hall of Famer Terrell Owens did it six times, Hall of Famer Jerry Rice did it nine times (five in his first seven seasons), Dez Bryant did it three times and can’t even find a job. There are industry standards. Is Jones surpassing them?
Aristotle said “Know thyself.” He never had to figure his value in terms of production on the field and against the salary cap, but Jones can.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Blog advises Julio Jones to get back to work. There’s nothing worse than being a legend in your own mind.
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