Adam Rank of NFL.com wrote an article yesterday that broke down five star players he believes should be on the move this offseason. Making the list was the Falcons’ own, Julio Jones. Here is his reasoning:
It seems like a big-name receiver gets dealt every summer. Like the release of another Fast & Furious movie. You just kind of get desensitized to it all. And if I’m talking about Jones, I should also point out that Matt Ryan feels like a candidate to be traded, as well, if Arthur Smith wants to develop his own quarterback. Yes, the contract looks prohibitive at first blush, but stranger things have happened. It’d probably have to be a post-June 1 trade, for dead-cap reasons. Send him to Pittsburgh if you must. Anyway, back to the subject at hand. Moving Jones makes a lot of sense, with the emergence of Calvin Ridley this past season. Ridley had 100-plus receiving yards in five of seven games without Julio, so he’s ready to go. And that’s the thing. Julio just turned 32. He played just nine games last season due to injury. Let him try to get in one last run for a championship on a team that’s kind of close.
Contrary to what you might hear from many Atlanta media outlets, trading Jones isn’t unfeasible. I understand the discussions may not have started yet, but it’s a decision Fontenot has to be at least contemplating.
The new Falcons general manager has stated several times this offseason that nobody is untouchable, including Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. However, for a trade to happen, it has to make sense. Moving on from Ryan may be too difficult, given his dead cap situation, but it’s entirely possible for Julio Jones. Trading him after June 1st would save the Falcons over $15 million in cap space for 2021, and it would also net them some healthy draft capital.
In no way am I advocating a trade for Julio Jones. He’s the best player in franchise history, and I believe he still has plenty left in the tank. However, the Falcons are in a tight cap situation, and they have to start thinking about life beyond Ryan and Jones. If the right offer comes along, they would be fools not to listen, and I’m sure there are plenty of teams interested in acquiring one of the best receivers in the game.