Julio Jones agrees to a contract extension

There is one less thing to worry about for Falcons fans as we approach the new season. Julio Jones is sticking around for the long-term.

Peter King of Sports Illustrated reported Saturday the Falcons have reached an agreement with Julio Jones on a new five-year contract.

The extension will come as no surprise, as both the team and Jones have continued to say the priority was to complete a new deal. Team owner Arthur Blank repeatedly praised Jones' agents for the willingness to negotiate in good faith. There was never much concern at all that a new deal would not get done at some point.

But if the talks had lingered, the topic would have at least been on the agenda during the regular season. Neither side preferred that, especially with Jones saying early in practice that he was not going to hold out and the negotiations would not be a concern moving forward.

Considering the high price the Falcons paid for Jones, the team could ill afford to lose him via free agency. Jones had 1593 receiving yards and 104 catches, both third-best in the NFL last season. In his career, Jones has 278 receptions for 4,330 yards (15.6 yards per catch) with 26 touchdowns in 49 games.

Jones is 26 years old, and with veteran Roddy White turning 34 in November and perhaps in his last season in Atlanta, the Falcons are prepared to turn the offense over to Jones. With this contract, they've done that now.

Numerous reports have the new deal paying Jones $71.25 million, with $47 million in guaranteed money.

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