With talks between Julio Jones and the Atlanta Falcons regarding a contract extension officially underway, I think it is imperative that we take a look at what Jones means to this organization and why he deserves to be the highest paid receiver in the league.
Antonio Brown recently re-worked a contract with the Oakland Raiders to become the highest paid receiver in the league. Brown is a great receiver, I’m not debating that, but I do not think that he deserves to be the highest paid. I believe Jones should be the highest paid.
When the Atlanta Falcons traded up in the 2011 NFL Draft to draft Jones sixth overall, they knew exactly what they were getting. They drafted an extremely talented and physical wide receiver from an emerging dynasty that was the University of Alabama.
I remember, at the time, I was on a field trip with the rest of my eighth grade class. I was eating with some of my friends and we were watching the draft at the restaurant we were at. When it was announced that the Atlanta Falcons had traded up, I was confused. Who were they planning on drafting? Once it was announced that the Falcons had drafted Jones, me and my friends began cheering. We knew that he was going to do great things with the Falcons…and we were right.
Fast forward eight years and Jones is considered to be one of, if not the best wide receiver in the league by many. His stats have been nothing short of amazing and his unselfishness is something that is rarely seen today.
Guys like Odell Beckham Jr. and Antonio Brown are constantly in the news for doing something stupid or for throwing a tantrum, but not Jones. Jones would never throw a tub of Gatorade around on the sideline because he felt he wasn’t targeted enough. He would never punch a kicking net (or get beat up by a kicking net) because he was upset. That isn’t his personality. He’s a team guy though and through.
Not only is his unselfishness rare, but his on-field abilities are even rarer. For example, his catch in the Super Bowl 51 match-up with the New England Patriots was jaw dropping. And who could forget his 73-yard touchdown run against the Green Bay Packers in the 2016 NFC Championship game where he was throwing grown men off of him like they were children.
There are so many memorable catches that I could write all day about them, but for the sake of not rambling, I won’t.
In my opinion, the league’s highest paid receiver should be somebody that is respected and deserving of the honor. A prima donna like Brown or Beckham Jr. doesn’t deserve this honor. That honor should go to Atlanta’s own, Quintorris Lopez “Julio” Jones.