Atlanta’s stance on trading Julio Jones as inquiries pour in
The Atlanta Falcons are in the midst of their rebuilding efforts which has put one of their top players in wide receiver Julio Jones in an uncertain situation. Many teams have already expressed interest in the veteran though a deal can’t push through before June 1 due to cap reasons. Despite the current situation, it doesn’t mean that the idea of a trade is completely out of the equation for the latter stages of the offseason, per NFL‘s Ian Rapoport.
The #Falcons have received calls from teams inquiring about possible trades for All-Pro WR Julio Jones, sources say. A trade could not happen for cap reasons before June 1, but teams know Atlanta’s brutal cap situation and are calling. A deal won’t happen now, but later? Maybe.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 26, 2021
“Most notably, the Falcons putting the framework of a trade together for star wideout Julio Jones, and making the trade effective June 2. That way, Atlanta could split Jones’ cap charge between 2021 and 2022 instead of getting bashed with it all this year. So if such a trade happens, I expect it could involve a future pick or picks, nothing this year. (A future second-round pick as compensation seems fair to me.) Because such a trade wouldn’t be official till June, no picks in this draft could be involved.”
Though Jones is still regarded as a highly valuable asset in the league, his campaign last season suggests that it could also be better for him to move on from Atlanta and relocate elsewhere to play for a contender. Not to mention that he is already playing at the age of 32 and could only have a few more years left to play in the league.
Last season, he underperformed as he only notched a total of 771 receiving yards on 51 receptions to go with three touchdowns. Jones only appeared in a total of nine games due to a hamstring injury as the team settled for a disappointing 4-12 record.
The Falcons can carve $15.3 million in cap space for the 2021 season if they wait until after June 2 to manufacture a trade for Jones. By doing this, they will be able to save the big dead cap hit for the 2022 season when the salary cap is expected to increase by a huge margin.
Amid the situation, several teams are speculated to be in the mix including the Las Vegas Raiders, New England Patriots, and the Tennessee Titans, among others. The coming months will see whether or not the seven-time Pro Bowler will continue to suit up for the Falcons or move on to a new team in the 2021 NFL season.