Vick: Julio Jones deserves better contract

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) reacts during the NFC wild-card playoff football game against the Los Angeles Rams on Jan. 6.Photo: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (file photo)

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Former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick didn't mince words when asked about star wideout Julio Jones' contract situation with the team.

"To my knowledge, Julio is holding out for a bigger contract and Julio deserves it," the 38-year-old Vick told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Julio and Matt (Ryan) are the ultimate combination. They just paid Matt and I think Julio should get everything that he deserves, too."

Jones elected against participating in the Falcons' voluntary offseason program and did not attend the team's mandatory minicamp. The five-time Pro Bowl wideout could be assessed an $84,435 fine per the league's collective bargaining agreement.

"He'll be professional," Vick said. "He'll go about it the right way. But you know, this is a grown man who has (surpassed) expectations even though everyone expected him to be great and this guy continues to get it done for the Falcons.

"I think he is a guy that Matt Ryan has to have. Him and Mohamed Sanu. But definitely, they complement each other. Julio opens everything up."

Jones is set to make $10.5 million in 2018 in the third season of a five-year, $71.25 contract extension he signed in 2015.

The 29-year-old Jones is coming off another huge season with 88 receptions for 1,444 yards, although he only reached the end zone three times.

It marked the fourth consecutive season in which Jones amassed at least 1,400 yards receiving and the fifth time in seven campaigns that he has eclipsed 1,000 yards.

Jones has appeared in 95 regular-season games for the Falcons, recording 585 catches for 9,054 yards and 43 touchdowns since being selected with the sixth overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft.

Ryan became the NFL's highest paid player in May when he agreed to a staggering five-year contract that will pay him $150 million.

As part of the deal, Ryan received a guaranteed signing bonus of $46.5 million along with guaranteed salaries of $6 million in 2018, $11.5 million in 2019, $20.5 million in 2020 and $23 million on 2021. He also receives a $10 million option bonus for 2019.

The pact extends through the 2023 season for Ryan, who will enter his 11th NFL season in 2018. He has been selected to the Pro Bowl four times, and he was named the league's MVP in 2016, when he took the Falcons to the Super Bowl. Atlanta led that Super Bowl game 28-3, but lost 34-28 in overtime to the New England Patriots.

Ryan has started 58 regular-season games for the Falcons since he was a first-round pick (third overall) in the 2008 NFL Draft. He has also started 10 playoff games.

For his career, Ryan has completed 64.9 percent of his passes for 41,796 yards and 260 touchdowns with 126 interceptions.