Birds of a feather flock together, but Julio Jones is flying solo at the moment — and may be ruffling some feathers in the process.
The Atlanta Falcons wide receiver skipped the team’s organized team activities and minicamp as he attempts to restructure his current contract. During an appearance on ESPN Charlotte’s 730 AM The Game radio show, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Falcons beat writer, D. Orlando Ledbetter, offered some insight into how Jones’ negotiations with the Falcons are going.
The answer: Not great, as Jones skipping OTAs apparently was news to Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn.
“It’s in a bad place right now,” Ledbetter told ESPN Charlotte when asked about Jones’ relationship with the Falcons, as transcribed by SB Nation. “Coach was expecting him in here. He told us that at the owners meeting when I talked to him down there in Orlando, and then, a few weeks later, Julio informed that he’s not going to be here.”
Ledbetter also insinuated the Falcons aren’t pleased that Jones has been holding workout sessions with Terrell Owens instead of being with his teammates.
“The fact that he’s running around with Terrell Owens has the front office uneasy,” Ledbetter added. “The fact that he’s held out and is kind of bucking the whole ‘Brotherhood’ thing has them a little bit uneasy, too. So, they’ll have to mend some fences, no question about it, once he returns.”
There’s a silver lining for Falcons fans in that last remark, though: Despite the apparent rift, Ledbetter expects Atlanta and Jones to come to terms on a new contract before training camp starts in late July.
“Yes, I do (expect a deal to get done),” Ledbetter said on the show. “I think he’ll be in camp on time, and they’ll work their differences out. Nothing major, but it’s major enough to keep him away from camp.”
Jones has three years remaining on a five-year, $71.26 million contract extension he signed in 2015, which currently makes him the NFL’s eighth-highest-paid wide receiver by average annual value.