Arthur Smith left Tennessee for Atlanta in the same offseason the greatest player in Falcons’ franchise history parted ways with the team. Julio Jones is now a member of the Titans, but Smith is optimistic that both sides received something they needed. Cris Collinsworth asked the first-year head coach to elaborate on the trade, which Smith defended, specifically noting that Jones’s massive contract coming off the books helped create much-needed cap space.
Why the Falcons traded Julio
— Cris Collinsworth (@CollinsworthPFF) June 22, 2021
“We knew the issue with the cap, and then obviously the cap went down this year, coming off the bizarre year with the pandemic, the cap actually shrunk. So we knew there were going to be some big decisions we would have to make coming up. The way everything worked out, we feel pretty good,” Smith said, via Pro Football Talk. “We feel like it was a win-win. With the salary cap, and Julio going to Tennessee and us right now being able to solve our short-term issue with the cap.”
Many Falcons fans are still sensitive to any conversation regarding Julio Jones. Still, I feel it’s necessary to continue these discussions because the first-year regime will be judged in future years on this trade. Sometimes, the “winner” of a trade doesn’t become clear until many years after. But from the position I’m sitting, I believe this was as amicable as a trade could be when dealing a superstar like Jones. He got what he wanted, which was to be apart of a Super Bowl contender, and the organization got what it wanted — salary cap relief and draft assets. Most teams would’ve stubbornly denied his requests, much like the Lions did with Calvin Johnson, which forever soured their relationship.