Wednesday afternoon, the Atlanta Falcons and Deion Jones agreed to terms on a new four year, $57 million extension with $34 million guaranteed. This season would be Jones’s final year of his rookie contract. Both sides agreed the linebacker from LSU outperformed his deal and both sides wanted to remain in Atlanta for the foreseeable future.
During his rookie season, Jones racked up 108 tackles, had three interceptions and even scored two defensive touchdowns. In that season, Jones famously intercepted Saints quarterback Drew Brees and returned it 90 yards for a touchdown in his hometown of New Orleans. In 2017, Jones tallied 138 tackles, ten for tackles for loss and three interceptions. One interception in particular, sealed a crucial game against the New Orleans Saints here in Atlanta.
In 2018, a foot injury derailed portions of Jones’s season. However, he made 53 tackles, had one sack, two interceptions and scored one defensive touchdown.
Deion Jones possesses a rare blend of athleticism, power, and instincts usually found in veterans. But the 24 year old has 27 pass breakups, possesses world class speed (ran 4.37 in the 40 yard dash at 227 pounds) and has quickly ascended to a leadership role in Dan Quinn’s defense.
According to Pro Football Focus, Jones produced 22 coverage stops in 2017, the third-highest total of any linebacker in the NFL, and he led the league with nine combined pass breakups and interceptions. These PFF metrics resulted in Jones leading the league in 2017 with a 91.1 coverage grade. To that end, the Falcons had the 8th best defense in the NFL that season. By comparison, the Falcons had the 24th best defense in 2018 with Jones and safety Keanu Neal missing in action due to injuries.
Jones turns 25 in November.
One day after completing the deal for defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, the Falcons are projected to have $11.8 million in the Salary Cap for the 2019 season.
Training camp begins at Flowery Branch Thursday with the rookies reporting and the veterans report Sunday. All of the rookies are signed.