Falcons, WR Jones ‘in a great spot,’ says GM

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Atlanta general manager Thomas Dimitroff said the team is not overly concerned about Pro Bowl wide receiver Julio Jones missing offseason workouts or erasing Falcons photos from his Instagram page.

“Julio and the organization are doing very well,” Dimitroff told ESPN on Friday. “I’m not concerned one bit about any of the social media. I think we’re in a great spot. He had very good discussions with [coach] Dan [Quinn]. And we’re in a great spot.”

The deleted Instagram photos caused a stir, but the team insisted it was related to Jones wanting a “fresh start” on social media while also proving a point to players at his former school, Alabama, about being willing to let go of social media.

Regarding the workouts, Jones has yet to join the team for the voluntary offseason program, which began April 16. He has been working out with former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens, however.

“They’re voluntary, of course,” Dimitroff said of the workouts. “Again, we feel very comfortable with where we are with Julio and how he perceives everything.”

There have been whispers about Jones wanting to be the highest-paid receiver in the league, although there have been no contract issues acknowledged by his camp or the team. The five-time Pro Bowler signed a five-year, $71.25 million extension ($47 million guaranteed) in August 2015 and has three years and $34.45 million remaining on the deal. But Jones’ average salary of $14.25 million per year falls below that of Pittsburgh‘s Antonio Brown ($17 million), Tampa Bay‘s Mike Evans ($16.5 million), Houston‘s DeAndre Hopkins ($16.2 million), Kansas City‘s Sammy Watkins ($16 million) and Cincinnati‘s A.J. Green ($15 million).

It is unclear when Jones plans to rejoin his teammates. Organized team activities, the third phase of the offseason program — which includes 11-on-11 drills — begin May 21. The Falcons have talked the past few months about the benefit of having a healthy Jones available for extensive practice time with quarterback Matt Ryan after injury kept the wideout off the field last offseason.

The Falcons also expect Jones to help mentor rookie wide receiver Calvin Ridley, their first-round draft pick out of Alabama.

There will be cause for concern if Jones is not with the team for mandatory minicamp June 12-14.

Jones had 88 receptions for 1,444 yards and three touchdowns last season.

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