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Atlanta Falcons sign Julio Jones to five-year, $71.25 million deal

Roughly six weeks after Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant and Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas signed deals so similar (five years for $70 million) that people assumed collusion between the Broncos and Cowboys, Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones signed a slightly more lucrative extension to continue his career in Atlanta. It was announced on Saturday that Jones signed a five-year extension with the Falcons worth $71.25 million that includes a healthy $47 million in guarantees.

Multiple outlets reported Jones’ extension, but it was ESPN NFL Insider Chris Mortensen that reported the particulars.

Originally the No. 6 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft out of the University of Alabama, the Falcons gave up a lot to trade up and acquire Jones with the intentions of him developing into a dominant force on the outside opposite long-time No. 1 receiver Roddy White, and Jones has already exceeded pretty lofty expectations. A physical specimen who is incredibly difficult to deal with in the open field after the catch, Jones is coming off a huge year in 2014 where he made his second Pro Bowl appearance.

After missing the majority of the 2013 season with an injury, Jones returned to the Falcons’ lineup in 2014 and had career-highs in catches (104) and receiving yards (1,593). Paired with quarterback Matt Ryan and White, Jones has been a part of the most prolific passing attacks in the NFL and he has continued to improve year-over-year.

Having just turned 26 years old in the offseason, Jones will continue his career with the Falcons as the NFL’s second-highest paid wide receiver in terms of average annual value behind only Calvin Johnson.

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