Fifth-year option looming for Julio Jones

The Atlanta Falcons haven't officially exercised the fifth-year option on wide receiver Julio Jones yet, but such a decision could be made soon.

Teams have until May 3 to decide whether or not to follow through on the fifth-year option, which is guaranteed for injury only until the final day of the 2014 league year. It becomes fully guaranteed at the start of the 2015 league year.

Jones was the sixth-overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft. In terms of players drafted in the top 10, the value of the fifth-year option is the equivalent to the transition tag for their respective positions. In Jones' case, that means $10.176 million in '15. Only quarterbacks ($14.666 million) and defensive ends ($10.633) have higher figures.

Of course, Jones is coming off a season-ending foot injury that required surgery, and some wonder if he will return to his normal form. But Falcons coach Mike Smith assured Jones was ahead of schedule in his recovery and on pace for training camp.

Immediately after the 2013 season, Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said the team was more focused on free agency and the draft than awarding extensions to Jones and fellow receiver Roddy White. The team, however, surely wants to lock up Jones long-term as the cornerstone of the franchise, provided he fully recovers from the injury.

The 25-year-old Jones is scheduled to make $2,581,875 in 2014 with a cap number of $5,149,375. The one-time Pro Bowler was on pace for more than 1,800 receiving yards last season before suffering the foot injury in Week 5.