He’s the best receiver in football, as crucial to his team as any wideout in the league, and this might be the last time he has the leverage to demand a new deal. The Falcons have to make a move to secure Julio Jones. Plus, one change the next CBA must address when it comes to contact in minicamp, and a Falcons personnel grouping that could cause nightmares
Still me, still here. A few more afternoon NFL hits …
• When Julio Jones had his contract adjusted on the eve of training camp last summer, it was described as a holdover until the Falcons began negotiations for a contract extension in 2019. The veteran receiver sounds confident that the extension will indeed get done this year, telling TMZ that he will not hold out and adding, “Mr. Blank gave us his word. That’s golden.” Jones, 30, has two more years left on the five-year extension he signed in 2015 and is due to make $9.6 million this season and $11.4 million in 2020.
• Raiders QB Ken Stabler passed away four years ago today. As the NFL celebrates its 100th season this year, Stabler’s achievements on the field will no doubt be a part of the celebration, like the famous Sea of Hands TD pass he made in the divisional playoff game against the Dolphins in December 1974. At the same time, his family has been denied any payout from the NFL’s concussion settlement, as detailed by Deadspin’s Dom Cosentino, despite Stabler’s having been found to have CTE after his death.
• Albert Breer has a good look at a 2020 class of QBs that has been much anticipated in the NFL world. While reporting a story on the “new mold” of NFL QBs for SI’s “Future” issue last fall, I heard a good anecdote from Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy. He was working as a Southeast area scout for the Seahawks when Alabama was recruiting Tua Tagovailoa, and he recalls members of the Crimson Tide staff telling him, “he reminds us of your guy”—that is, Russell Wilson. First Drew Brees, then Wilson, and now Baker Mayfield have been change agents for the NFL QB prototype.
• Former Patriots linebacker and ESPN analyst Tedy Bruschi posted on social media that he is doing “much better” after suffering his second stroke, on July 4. He also provided a bit more detail about the symptoms that led him and his wife to call 911, including losing the use of his left arm, and posted a list of stroke warning signs.
• At the end of my conversation with to Raiders RB DeAndre Washington about his gun violence prevention work, I asked him how he feels about the Hard Knocks cameras coming to town for training camp. “Oh, it will definitely be entertaining,” Washington said with a laugh. “It will definitely be A-1 TV.” Washington is entering his fourth year with the Raiders and has certainly seen a lot of turnover in the roster and the coaching staff. The Raiders have a full backfield, including the addition of first-round pick Josh Jacobs, but Washington hopes “to contribute to the team in a major way” in 2019.
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