Julio Jones acting like a professional as ever


Atlanta Falcons fans, just take a moment to appreciate Julio Jones. Not only is he one of the National Football League’s elite at the wide receiver position, but he is also a class act off the field. 

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From Jones’ point of view, he will be looking to secure his long term future and many players in his position have kicked up a fuss and put their team in a tough spot. Dez Bryant is doing just that in Dallas. Bryant has threatened to hold out of Week 1 if a new deal isn’t sorted.

You can certainly see where Bryant is coming from. Bryant is arguably the best receiver in football, and he has surpassed the 1,000-yard mark in each of his last three seasons. He led the NFL in touchdowns (16) last year; if any player deserves a lucrative long term deal, it’s Bryant.

But football is a business. The Cowboys would love to lock his services up, and they most likely will. But the time has to be right for the team, and they are likely waiting to gage the market with many of the league’s top receivers set to get paid soon. Jones is one of them, as is Denver’s Demaryius Thomas and Cincinnati’s A.J. Green.

What Bryant is doing, however, is hurting his team. Rightly or wrongly, holding out causes a distraction to his teammates while also affecting his offseason program.

Jones gets this. He knows the importance of being professional and putting the team first.

“No. I’m here to win. If I’m not here, I’m not helping my teammates,” Jones said.

Jun 17, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) catches a ball during minicamp at Falcons Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

As you can expect, his attitude has impressed new head coach Dan Quinn.

“For me to connect with him in that way with what he stands for as a player, what he stands for as a man, he’s a really unique guy. I love his attitude and the approach he brings to our team. He’s a great teammate and shows that respect for one another,” Quinn said.

“So yeah, I couldn’t be more pleased to see all the things. I’m not surprised one bit by his answer.”

Jones will get paid. The Falcons know how important he is to the football team, but they also know they need to get the right value.

I’m sure Quinn would love to just hand him a chequebook and let him name a price. But in today’s NFL, value is everything. Atlanta will want to see what Bryant earns, what Demaryius Thomas earns and react accordingly.

The two mentioned were franchise tagged this offseason, so their respective teams will have a much greater sense of urgency to get them locked up.

The Falcons don’t need to panic. If a deal isn’t negotiated by early 2016, they can use the franchise tag on Jones and work out an extension from there. That would be far from ideal, but it’s option.

A lot of attention in the press is drawn to the NFL players who get in trouble or suspended. Let’s just take a moment to appreciate the fact the Falcons have one of the league’s best players on their roster. Not only that, he’s a class act on and off the field.

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