Is it time to make Julio Jones the NFL's highest-paid wide receiver?

"I don't know about highest-paid receiver or whatever it may be, but I know Julio [Jones] should be a Falcon for life," owner Arthur Blank said. AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones smiled and nodded his head with approval when told of owner Arthur Blank's reiterating last Sunday that he wants Jones to be a Falcon for life.

"I love Mr. Blank," Jones told ESPN. "I love the organization. That's why I do whatever it takes for the organization. I'm not a selfish guy, and neither is the organization. It's more like they're going to take care of what they need to take care of. It's no pressure on either end."

The "pressure" reference was to Jones' contract situation, an issue general manager Thomas Dimitroff promised to address fully going into the 2019 season. Jones has two years and more than $21 million left on the five-year, $71.25 million extension he signed in August 2015.

Jones obviously believes he has outplayed his contract, which led to talk about a possible holdout heading into this past season. That never materialized, as the Falcons satisfied him in the interim by adjusting numbers and boosting Jones' salary by $2.8 million for 2018.

All Jones did in response was lead the league with 1,677 receiving yards on 113 catches with eight touchdowns. Jones finished with 10 100-yard games to set a franchise single-season record.

Is it time to make Jones, who turns 30 next month, the league's highest-paid wide receiver?

"I don't know about highest-paid receiver or whatever it may be, but I know Julio should be a Falcon for life," Blank said. "We have a number of players who are up for consideration. The coach [Dan Quinn] and the staff will make those determinations. But we'll certainly take care of the players we should take care of first. And Julio, he's had another great season."

Odell Beckham Jr. of the New York Giants tops all receivers at an average of $18 million per year. Beckham also received the highest guarantee at $65 million. Jones' average of $14.25 million per year is 11th in the league.

Several league executives, as well as contract agents, believe Jones' camp would be foolish not to seek at least $20 million per year and $70 million guaranteed, no matter how the next deal is constructed. Agent Jimmy Sexton will handle the negotiations for Jones.

Former Falcon Roddy White, who is the team's all-time leading receiver with 10,863 yards -- just 132 yards ahead of Jones -- spoke up for his good friend and former teammate by saying, "Yes, he deserves to be the highest-paid receiver. I think he does, based on performance. For me, that's a no-brainer."

The Falcons already made one of their players one of the highest paid at his position when quarterback Matt Ryan signed a five-year, $150 million extension ($100 million guaranteed), though Ryan was topped by Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers ($33.5 million per year).

As of now, the Falcons are projected to have $21,766,005 in salary-cap space for 2019 based on a projected $190 million cap. That number could change, of course, based on players signed to extensions or new contracts, or players being released.

Jones insisted that he isn't caught up in being the highest-paid receiver.

"For me, that's on them to decide what they're going to do and how they're going to go about it," he said. "I don't look at numbers. I can't tell you who makes what right now. To be honest, I really don't know. I promise you I don't know. I just try to make sure the business side gets taken care of. And once it gets taken care of, we're good. I trust in them; they trust in me."

Jones, a six-time Pro Bowler, continues to take care of business on the field. He became the fastest receiver in league history to 10,000 yards, accomplishing the feat in 104 games. He also became the first receiver to record five 1,400-yard seasons. Jones led the league in receiving this season despite dealing with a number of nagging injuries. Plus, he had two games in which he finished with just 28 and 18 yards against Carolina and Baltimore, respectively, which made his league-leading total that much more impressive -- not to mention the added defensive attention he commands on a regular basis.

Next season, Jones will have a new offensive coordinator after the Falcons fired Steve Sarkisian. There's a good chance that Jones could be reunited with Dirk Koetter, his offensive coordinator from 2012-14, when scored a pair of 80-yard touchdowns. Or perhaps Jones will have his first NFL offensive coordinator back in Mike Mularkey.

"My thing is, I just go out there and play and just give my all," Jones said. "On [the Falcons'] end, they see what we're doing and what I've got going on. They'll take care of it. It's no headache. It's no pressure. It's no back and forth.

"You can have those contracts where it becomes a distraction to the organization. Nobody wants that. I love it, man, that they have the confidence in me and that I'm going to be a lifer for the Falcons."