Every year, Julio Jones, along with hundreds of other players around the NFL, are made out to be victims of the media for not participating in voluntary workouts. The key word here is voluntary.
What does Julio Jones not showing up for the Organized Team Activities mean for the Falcons?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Let me just say, if the Falcons can have all 90 players at OTAs, it will only help. That’s obvious. However, no one should be losing sleep over Julio’s absence (not that anyone is).
Players like Julio are given the benefit of the doubt given their production and presence on the field. Why? Because Julio’s absence means he will be working out on his own or with a friend (perhaps Terrell Owens for the second year in a row).
Around this time last year reports came out regarding Julio’s desire for a new contract and he had made his decision to not report for voluntary OTAs, a very un-Julio thing to do as we’ve come to know for the last eight years. In the eleventh hour, a mere nights sleep away from the first day of Falcons training camp, a deal was made to move money from future years in his contract to his 2018 number. This restructure came a day or so after he had intended to hold out for a new deal.
I’m not sure this tactic will work for Atlanta this time around and I don’t expect them to even have to explore this option. Since both have expressed desire to work out a long term contract, likely Julio’s last of his career they should be working tirelessly to put this behind them so they can focus on football moving forward. With Julio coming off another huge year in which he amassed 1,600+ receiving yards and totaled eight touchdowns, he is looking to reset the wide receiver market once again.
Julio’s absence means nothing. Per ESPN.com, Julio has already stated “Mandatory stuff, I’ll be there” which leads me to believe the team might be closer to closing this deal than we all know. It also speaks to the character and professional Julio is. Maybe it didn’t even need to be written about, but it’s May and we’re three months away from football season.