FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – (AP) — One day before the season opener, Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones got his long-awaited contract extension Saturday, agreeing to a three-year, $66 million deal.
The extension is nearly fully guaranteed when he signs. It locks in Jones through the 2023 season and removes a potentially major headache for the Falcons before Sunday’s game at Minnesota.
The deal was announced as the team was departing for Minneapolis.
Jones first sought a new contract more than a year ago. He reported for training camp when the Falcons enhanced his current deal and agreed to discuss a lucrative new extension before this season.
Negotiations dragged on far longer than expected, putting in doubt whether Jones would suit up against the Vikings.
“I love this city and I’m committed to being a Falcon for life,” Jones said in a statement issued by the team.
he 30-year-old Jones is a six-time Pro Bowler coming off another huge season. Even as the Falcons slumped to a 7-9 record, he had 113 receptions for an NFL-leading 1,677 yards and eight touchdowns.
Heading into his ninth NFL season, he has 698 receptions for 10,731 yards and 51 touchdowns in 111 career games.
Jones is the fourth receiver in NFL history to have three seasons with at least 100 catches and 1,500 yards, joining Antonio Brown, Andre Johnson and Marvin Harrison.