The Atlanta Falcons have officially traded future Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Julio Jones to the Tennessee Titans. The NFC South franchise continues its attempt to rebound both on the field and financially under the direction of first-year NFL head coach Arthur Smith.
With Jones’ contract now off the books down in Atlanta, the Falcons should absolutely go all in on a rebuild as the team is about to enter the upcoming 2021 season in limbo.
As it stands today, half the Falcons’ roster is young, talented up-and-comers while the other half is veteran players making quite a bit of money.
The Falcons literally have to deal Jones in order to pay the team’s slew of picks from the 2021 NFL draft, including superstar-to-be tight end Kyle Pitts.
The Falcons should learn a lesson here and never put the franchise in this position again as the best case scenario for this team is being a middle of the pack NFL franchise in 2021, which is the worst outcome possible.
With the Falcons forced to play the New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers and defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC South, shipping everyone out of town is the only route to take at this point — especially with Jones now in Tennessee.
Falcons QB Matt Ryan
Longtime Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is currently 36 years old and is set to cost the team a $26,912,500 salary cap hit in 2021-22. Not only that, but Ryan’s dead cap hit is going to be a whopping $65,437,500 in 2021-22.
At this point in his career, Ryan should be trying to chase a title while the Falcons should be trying to lose as many games as possible in order to secure the team’s quarterback of the future in the 2022 NFL draft.
There are plenty of teams that could use Ryan’s services heading into 2021-22; the Falcons are not one of them.
The Falcons would no doubt have to eat some cash should the team successfully move Ryan as it would be hard to convince another team to take on the remainder of his salary. Some additional NFL Draft capital alongside Ryan wouldn’t hurt either as teams like the Las Vegas Raiders, Houston Texans and Denver Broncos could use a player like the former league MVP.
Falcons pass rusher Deion Jones
With the Atlanta Falcons hamstrung financially and going nowhere fast on the gridiron, it’s time to blow it all up. While trading away a player like quarterback Matt Ryan would allow the Falcons to save some cash moving forward, moving a talented, young player like pass rusher Deion Jones would both help Atlanta in the financial department but also in the future NFL Draft pick department as well. Ryan would simply move around some money while Jones being shipped out of town could definitely garner some valuable NFL Draft capital, which the Falcons will need if the team is indeed going to rebuild at some point soon.
Entering the 2021-22 campaign, Jones is slated to set the Falcons back $8,630,000 in available salary cap space in addition to over $20 million in dead cap. With Jones about to suit up for a team that simply cannot be productive this time around, the Falcons might as well trade him in exchange for future NFL Draft picks, and thus, player that can help the franchise down the road.