Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Biggest Difference Between Julio Jones' and Dez Bryant's Contract Negotiations

Dez Bryant touchdown at Washington

Julio Jones touchdown reception vs Tampa Bay

As we approach the 2015 NFL season, two of the biggest stories to watch will be the contract talks between 6th year Phenom, the Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant and the Cowboys organization and with 5th year star wide receiver Julio Jones of our hometown Atlanta Falcons and the Falcons organization as well. I want to start off by stating that Dez Bryant is an incredible wide receiver, and deserves a lucrative deal because of the impact he brings offensively to the Dallas Cowboys offense. However, although he is a top-5 player at his respected position, some of his flaws  that we've seen at times during Cowboys games could make his contract negotiations very difficult. Then you have Julio Jones, who is arguably another Top 5 wide receiver in the NFL as well, however, Jones expressed in some of the interviews at mini-camp when asked about his contract negotiations with a team first attitude. In Mini Camp, Jones stated in a interview last month during Atlanta's mini camp sessions that "I'm not going to hold out for anything. My teammates need me. I'm being selfish if I'm not here doing what I need to do." Although the two are so similar in their dominance as two of the top receivers in the NFL today, their biggest difference is expressed in three elements: Off-field issues,their performance, and attitude. Each element will be factored into their negotiations.


 If we're being brutally honest, Dez Bryant isn't a "bad person" or "cancer to an organization; however, he's a passionate player that's just constantly remain in trouble  with the law. Coming from a difficult background, one ex-scout calls his situation one of the worst he's ever seen, and from being the center of domestic violence case with his mother to an other incident in a Wal-Mart parking lot, Bryant is making it difficult for the Dallas Cowboys to put trust into him as a franchise player going forward. Sadly, his on-field performance was never truly a concern; however, off the field, you never know what he's capable of doing.

In the case of Julio Jones, he's the complete opposite. Jones is not considered a flashy guy off the field and even from his social media accounts you can notice the difference. At times, we've seen Jones take trips to Brazil, workout in Los Angeles, or a casual photo with a fan  and even hanging out with some teammates as well. From the fans, coaches, and to the front office, Jones personality is exactly you would like to see and hear when discussing one of the biggest stars on your team and around the league. Many have described Jones as a quiet person with a "Kool-Aid smile" and his play simply can talk for him, prime example was his monster games last season against Arizona and in a prime-time game at Lambeau Field against the hot Green Bay Packers. Honestly, you couldn't ask for a better individual off the field and representative of your NFL team. 


Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones catches a touchdown pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half of an NFL game on Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo)

Without question, Dez Bryant is one of the best and most productive receivers in the league and every Sunday, you’re reminded why he’s well deserving of a lucrative extension from the Cowboys. Last season, Bryant continued to make an impression on the league as the 2014 Cowboys finished 12-4, won the NFC East or the first time since 2009 and came within a controversial pass from advancing to the NFC Championship Game. Bryant finished the season with (88) receptions, (1,320) receiving yards, and (16) touchdown receptions which led the NFL and broke Terrell Owens franchise record of 15 TD scores. Bryant's great season was en route to a 2nd consecutive Pro-Bowl appearance and was chosen as 1st team All-Pro. Although many argue that Dallas' explosive rushing attack with a healthy DeMarco Murray and playing on a team with arguably the offensive line in the NFL was helping inflate his stats, the debate is in the air but he is established as one of the NFL's toughest and elite players

Julio Jones is one of most explosive receivers in the NFL today and a constant nightmare for opposing defensive coordinators on how to contain #11. Last season, despite the Falcons having a tough 6-10 finish to the season, their star wide receiver took flight. Jones set a franchise record with 1,593 receiving yards on a career-high 104 receptions despite missing one game with an oblique injury. He led the NFL with 31 catches of 20-plus yards. Since his rookie season, he amassed twenty one-hundred yard games, ranking fourth best in the NFL since he entered the league in 2011. When healthy, Julio Jones is one of the biggest threat to any secondary in the league. With new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan putting him in mix-match positions and a more balanced offensive attack, I expect yet another Pro Bowl season is ahead for him. Although there are still people who is concerned with his durability, without a doubt, Jones is still one of the most respected receivers in the game today. 



Although he's one of the best receivers in the league today, Dez Bryant isn't the most like-able star around the league, which we are very aware of as football fans nor is he one  the best to communicate with as well. Bryant deserves to be one of the highest-paid receivers in the league, we understand this also BUT he doesn't have to express these feelings to the fans. As an NFL player, I feel that you should  present yourself in a professional manner instead of going to social media or venting to fans. Again, I respect Bryant's game and want him to break the bank simply because he deserves; however, as he enters another year in the NFL, I personally feel that he should work on holding his tongue in certain situations because every action Bryant makes which people aren't approving will lead them to continue to judge him not for his talent and passion to win, but simply due to his flaws.

On the other perspective, Julio Jones immediately settled down any Falcon fans who were concerned that he could take the same approach as well by stating that he wouldn't hold out and be there for his teammates. Jones is showing the staff, fans, and front office the necessary steps to show that he deserves a lucrative contract from attending workouts, OTAs, and now training camp. Sometimes your best statement is simply not making a statement and we're a witness to Jones is exercising that rule to the fullest. During this year's State of Franchise even,t both Owner Arthur Blank and GM Thomas Dimitroff stated that he'll be a Falcon for a long time to come. Hopefully they can and will stick to their words, and I trust they will do exactly what Falcons fans are hoping for in the end.


Julio Jones has an outside shot to break Calvin Johnson's single-season receiving record and the Detroit Lions wouldn't be upset if his mark was surpassed. (12/11/14- AP Photo)

In conclusion, although Dez Bryant and Julio Jones is on the path of being two of the best receivers in our generation, we have seen two different individuals on and off the football field as well. Dez Bryant is an outstanding player but some of the concerns I've listed above could result in his downfall. Two receivers that came to heart for me was Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson. Both players were tremendous receivers and gave fans a show from their performance to their antics every Sunday afternoon; however, once they couldn't provide the same impact on a field as they once were capable of delivering, not many teams would take another chance on them. Julio Jones has taken more of a friendly approach to the table. Though he is a team first player, not saying Dez isn't, he's still going to appraised to a big deal. Hope you enjoyed the article and I would love to hear your feedback on the article as well. My predictions on the result of the contract negotiations are listed below, until next time..... RISE UP!!!!!!!!

-Raekwon Gilbert (@RXGilbert97)


Dez Bryant: Finds a new home.

Julio Jones: 5 year deal between $85-$90 million. Max Offer: 5 years - 100 million.

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