Falcons will get Julio deal done, but should they?

Thomas Mott
August 21, 2019 - 1:20 am
Julio Jones - NFL Hall of Fame Game

© Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

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Reports are coming out that Julio Jones’ agent is in Atlanta this week trying to iron out his new contract extension. We all expect it to be somewhere north of $20 million a year for 4-6 years.

While this deal will get done, much to the delight of Falcons fans everywhere, Thomas Mott, host of Ready or Mott, is concerned with the actual money the Falcons are about to invest in an aging wide receiver.

Now before everyone gets upset, let’s start with some blanket statements that everyone can agree on:

  1. Julio Jones is a top-3 wide receiver in the NFL, right now.
  2. Julio Jones is 30 years old.
  3. Julio Jones has an injury history.
  4. History shows that aging receivers struggle to produce.

History tells us, that maybe giving Julio $20 million a year for the next five years could be dangerous for the Falcons in the long run.

Before everyone freaks out, Hot Take Tommy is NOT saying Julio will be bad this year or even next year. Julio is elite. But, what will he look like when he’s 33, 34 or even 35?

Lets look at some recent WRs who got big-time paydays.

  • Dez Bryant was 26 in 2015. Signed a five-year, $70 million deal with the Cowboys; $45 million guaranteed.  After signing the contract. Dez never had more than 69 catches in a year and never had more than eight touchdowns and 838 yards. The Cowboys had to cut him after the 2017 season.
  • Demaryius Thomas was 27 in 2015 and signed a five-year, $70 million contract with Broncos; $43.5 million guaranteed.Thomas was good for the next two years, catching 90-plus balls each year. But never caught more than six TDs and was eventually cut by Denver.
  • A.J. Green signed a four-year, $60 million contract with Bengals in 2015; $15 million a year. One year with 75 catches and 1,000 yards, but then never had more than 900 yards and six TDs.

Now that’s just three examples. However, there is actually a website that has tracked receivers' top few years.

If you finished in the top 10 in receiving that year since 2000, you are on this website.

The data shows that the peak age is somewhere between 25 and 29 years old. Almost every receiver after the age of 30 has seen the slow decline in their numbers.

There are some exceptions. The true “Elites of the world” such as, Larry Fitzgerald, Jerry Rice, Terrell Owens, Marvin Harison, Cris Carter and Reggie Wayne.

Maybe Julio is good enough to continue his greatness. However, the concern is that the Falcons could go from paying a top-3 receiver a ridiculous amount of money, to paying a top-15 receiver a ridiculous amount of money.

Remember, just because Odell Beckham Jr., Michael Thomas and Mike Evans all signed new, huge deals, does not mean we can compare them to Julio. The difference? Julio is 30. The others? They were 26-27 years old.