The Atlanta Falcons today announced that they have agreed to terms with wide receiver Julio Jones on a five-year contract extension.
Jones is coming off one of the best years of his young career; during his 15 starts in 2014, he recorded 104 catches and 1,593 receiving yards, which was the third best reception and receiving yardage total in the League last season. Jones' 1,593 receiving yards also broke the Falcons single-season franchise record. He also finished second on the team in touchdown catches with six scores, and earned his second Pro Bowl appearance in his four-year career.
"We could not be more thrilled to make Julio a Falcon for life," said Falcons Owner and Chairman Arthur Blank. "Julio has established himself as one of the top wide receivers in the NFL during his career and has already set the franchise record for receiving yards in a season. I am extremely proud of what he has accomplished and he has just begun to scratch the surface in terms of his potential."
In a total of 49 games, Jones has established himself as one of the League's most dominant receivers. He has recorded 278 receptions, and his 4,330 receiving yards are the seventh highest all-time among wide receivers that have played at least four years in the NFL. Jones has also averaged 15.6 yards per catch and 88.4 receiving yards per game, which is currently an NFL-best career mark, along with 26 touchdowns during his four-year career.
During Jones' first season with the Falcons he showed potential to become one of the top receivers in the League. In 13 games, Jones caught 54 passes, which was the third-highest total among all rookies. He also added 959 receiving yards, second behind Cincinnati Bengals receiver A.J. Green, 73.8 receiving yards per game, and nine touchdowns for the season – both ranked first among rookies.
Jones earned his first Pro Bowl selection in 2012 after he caught 79 passes for 1,198 yards. He also recorded 10 touchdowns during his second year in the League. Jones' made his greatest impact in the playoffs, helping the Falcons reach the NFC Championship game. In the two games playoff games, he tallied 17 receptions, including an 11 catch, 182 yard performance against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game.
In 2013, he was placed on injured reserve after five games with a broken foot. During those five games, Jones recorded 41 catches, 580 receiving yards for 116 yards per game, and two touchdowns.
The 26-year old from Foley, Alabama was selected by the Falcons in the first round (sixth overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft out of Alabama. Atlanta traded its first (27th overall), second (59th overall) and fourth (124th overall) round selections in 2011, as well as its first and fourth round selections in the 2012 NFL Draft to the Cleveland Browns to move up to take Jones with the sixth overall selection. Jones became the first wide receiver selected by the Falcons in the first round of the NFL Draft since Roddy White was picked as the 27th overall selection in 2005 out of UAB.
Jones established himself as one of the premier wide receivers in college football at the University of Alabama. He started all 40 of the games in which he played and was a member of the Crimson Tide's 2009-10 BCS National Championship winning team. In those 40 games, he caught 179 passes for 2,653 yards with 15 touchdowns, and accumulated 3,084 all-purpose yards. His 179 receptions and 2,653 receiving yards rank third all-time at Alabama, while his 15 touchdowns are tied for fifth in Crimson Tide annals.