Falcons owner confident Julio Jones will stay with team

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank is optimistic that wide receiver Julio Jones will never have to wear another NFL jersey.

Blank said Sunday that the Falcons are in the "middle of (contract) discussions" with Jones on an extension.

"We expect Julio to be a lifer," Blank said during the Falcons' practice at team headquarters in Flowery Branch, Ga.

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Jones is in the final year of his rookie contract and is set to earn $10.2 million for the 2015 season.

Jones set career highs of 104 catches for 1,593 yards in 2014, his fourth season in the league. He has 278 catches and 26 touchdowns in 49 career games.

Blank said it helps that a template for the negotiations was created last month With new deals signed by Dez Bryant of the Cowboys and Demaryius Thomas of the Broncos. Both signed five-year, $70 million extensions and are represented By the same firm, Creative Artists Agency.