The wide receiver contracts continue to come during training camp. After getting both Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas inked, it was expected that Julio Jones and AJ Green would quickly follow. However, instead the Indianapolis Colts got a deal done for TY Hilton that will likely impact negotiations with the other wide receivers. While Jones told the media that he plans on being with the Atlanta Falcons for his entire career, how long will it take to put a number on that?
According to ESPN's NFL Insider Adam Schefter, the Colts inked Hilton to a five-year, $65 million deal with $39 million in guaranteed money. That falls just slightly short of what both Thomas and Bryant earned while being must less than the contract currently assigned to Calvin Johnson. Hilton just put up his first Pro Bowl season with 1,345 yards last year. Both Jones and Green have exceeded him in play on the field which is likely going to factor into contract talks.
According to ESPN's Vaughn McClure, negotiations are ongoing with Jones as training camp continues. Owner Arthur Blank told the media that he wants a very long-term relationship with Jones while the receiver echoed the same desire.
"We're on the same page," Jones said, via ESPN.com "I want to be a Falcon for life. I guess he made it clear yesterday that they're obviously working toward that. All I can control is what I do out here on this field and stay consistent. I don't wrap my head around that to get me going or put a pep in my step. Like, 'Hey, he wants me to be a Falcon for the rest of my career, so let me go out and do something else.' Obviously I'd be cheating myself, so every day I challenge myself to come out here and get better."
Roddy White told the media that the Falcons would be wise to sign Jones now because he will only be more expensive to the team if he has a great season this year. The Falcons are simply trying to determine where Jones falls in the spectrum of receivers as he is regarded as one of the top players. No team wants to hand out a contract like the one Johnson has, but can Jones earn more than Bryant and Thomas? Agent Jimmy Sexton is expected to be asking for at least $40 million in guaranteed money.
The Falcons have some salary cap concerns, but enough money still available to easily get a deal done for Jones. The team does not have any major names coming up for contracts next season outside of Jones which means they can set their focus on the receiver and get a deal done quickly.