The Atlanta Falcons will open their mandatory minicamp without Julio Jones Ricardo Louis Jersey , one of their most important playmakers.
Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said the team was informed Monday that Jones will not be present when the three-day minicamp opens on Tuesday.
Jones, under contract through 2020, apparently is seeking a new deal as he has fallen behind other top NFL receivers in average earnings.
”We have been in contact with Julio and his representation,” Dimitroff said in a statement released by the team.
”We will not discuss those conversations publicly except to say we feel they have been productive and constructive. We understand the concerns and thoughts from their perspective. Although not ideal, Julio informed us today he would not be attending minicamp.
”We have much respect for him and what he means to our team, our city and our fans.”
Jones’ absence is a big surprise. Before Monday, coach Dan Quinn and others had said they were confident Jones would attend the minicamp despite missing the voluntary offseason program.
Jones, 29, still has three seasons remaining on his five-year, $71.3 million deal with $47 million in guaranteed money. He is due to earn $10.5 million this season Nathan Peterman Jersey , $12.5 million in 2019 and $11.4 million in 2020.
Jones’ salary cap figure of $12.9 million for 2018 ranks seventh among NFL receivers, well behind recent deals signed by Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans ($18.252 million in 2018) and Cleveland’s Jarvis Landry ($15.5 million).
Jones’ holdout comes in a summer the Falcons made quarterback Matt Ryan the NFL’s highest-paid player. Ryan’s new deal could average out to as much as $30 million annually over five seasons.
Jones’ value to the team is unquestioned. He earned his fourth straight Pro Bowl berth, and fifth overall, in 2017, when he had 88 catches for 1,444 yards. It was his fourth straight season with at least 80 receptions and 1,400 receiving yards.
Jones had only three touchdown catches last season as the Falcons’ offense failed to match the standards set in 2016, when Atlanta led the league in scoring and advanced to the Super Bowl.
Jones’ absence in the minicamp will leave more opportunity for another former Alabama receiver, rookie Calvin Ridley, to have more work with Ryan. Ridley Torrey Smith Jersey , a first-round pick, is expected to earn a role behind Jones and Mohamed Sanu on the depth chart.
There’s been little question that Arizona’s Deandre Ayton is the best of a potential-filled group of bigs at the top of Thursday’s NBA draft.
Ayton was a force in his lone college season and looks like the favorite to land with Phoenix as the No. 1 overall pick. Behind him are several talented big men including Michigan State’s Jaren Jackson, Texas’ Mo Bamba and Duke’s Wendell Carter Jr., who like Ayton all played just one year in college and could all hear their name called in the first 10 selections.
Here’s a look at the top prospects:
The 7-foot, 250-pound big man can single-handedly dominate defenses, monopolize the boards and alter or swat shots.
STRENGTHS: Ayton offers an impressive mix of power and touch . He averaged 20.1 points and was a force around the rim with 75 dunks while shooting 61 percent from the field, yet he had enough range to hit 12 3-pointers to pull defenders away from the paint, too. At the other end, 8.2 of his 11.6 rebounds per game came on the defensive glass to secure a stop.
CONCERNS: He wasn’t particularly effective (14 points on 6-for-13 shooting) in the first-round NCAA Tournament loss to underdog and undersized Buffalo. His lofty draft stock assumes he continues to develop physically and build on his game, including on the defensive end (averaged just 1.9 blocks despite his physical tools).
JAREN JACKSON JR.
The Michigan State one-and-done big man is a possible top-five pick with size Tracy Walker Jersey , length and a reliable jumpshot.
STRENGTHS: The 6-11 Jackson, who averaged 10.9 points and 5.8 rebounds, offers two intriguing skillsets. First, he shot nearly 40 percent from 3-point range even as he attempted nearly three per game. He also averaged 3.0 blocks per game, aided by a wingspan measured at more than 7-5 at the combine.
CONCERNS: The 18-year-old (he turns 19 in September) had issues with foul trouble during the year, which helped limit him to 21.8 minutes per game on the season.
The 7-foot freshman from Texas has the potential to be an elite defender and rebounder – and that’s just a start.
STRENGTHS: Bamba averaged 12.9 points and 10.5 rebounds while shooting 54 percent from the floor. But it’s the defensive potential that stands out here; he ranked second nationally with 3.7 blocks per game, aided by a wingspan measured at an incredible 7-10 at the combine – three inches more than any other player.
CONCERNS: While he’s a good athlete, he’ll need to add some strength to a 225-pound frame to hold up physically in the paint against stronger opponents.
WENDELL CARTER JR.
Duke’s ”other” one-and-done frontcourt presence had his own big season, even if overshadowed by teammate and possible top overall pick Marvin Bagley III.
STRENGTHS: The 6-10, 259-pound Carter is a bit of a throwback with his post play. He has back-to-the-basket skills yet can step behind the 3-point arc Geoff Swaim Jersey , too. Carter averaged 13.5 points and 9.1 rebounds, posting 16 double-doubles. And he’s got enough bulk to battle up front at the NBA level.
CONCERNS: He doesn’t have a lot of foot speed, which can affect him in transition or at the defensive end. He also had bouts with foul trouble, ending when he fouled out in 22 minutes during an overtime loss to Kansas in the NCAA Elite Eight.
OTHERS TO WATCH
– MITCHELL ROBINSON: The five-star recruit curiously opted to play for Western Kentucky, then never suited up at the college level. The 6-11 center is a first-round prospect with upside to develop thanks to his length and athleticism.
– OMARI SPELLMAN: Spellman was the inside-out big man who shot 43 percent from 3-point range for national champion Villanova. He could be the defacto post presence capable of stretching the floor in a small lineup in the NBA, though he’s a likely second-round pick.
– ROBERT WILLIAMS: Texas A&M’s 6-10 sophomore is a gifted athlete (check out the windmill dunk he threw down in the Aggies’ NCAA Tournament win against Providence for proof). That and his defensive potential is a big reason why he’s a possible lottery pick.
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