The Falcons just recently placed Deion Jones on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, which certainly complicates any plans to trade the former LSU Tiger. Jones cannot be traded or cut while on the PUP list but can be activated anytime during training camp or preseason. It’ll be interesting to see what the club does with him when that time comes. The financial ramifications of parting ways with Jones justify trading him but cutting him might not be the most economical decision.
According to OverTheCap, cutting him would create nearly $19 million in dead money with a savings of $1.07 million this season, but the advantage would be him being off the books next season. The Falcons would have cap savings in 2023 of $13.1 million and dead money of $5.3 million. If they did indeed part ways with Jones in this fashion, Atlanta would have a record-breaking $82 million in dead cap, which is 40% of the total cap.
Obviously, that isn’t the ideal scenario. That is a ton more dead money for a team that is already setting records in that sense. If it were the Falcons’ preference, they’d trade him with a June 1st designation. The dead cap figure would only be $5.34 million in 2022 and 2023, with savings of $14.7 million and $13.1 million, respectively.
Finding a suitor to take on his guaranteed salary of $13.64 million might be a bit difficult, but Jones is only 27 years old. A change of scenery could do wonders for him; however, more than likely, Atlanta would have to absorb some of his contract. Terry Fontenot’s goal with moving Jones would be to get as much of his salary off the books, even if it meant taking a less valuable draft pick.
One landing spot that makes a lot of sense is the Dallas Cowboys. Dan Quinn is the defensive coordinator and has an obvious connection to Jones. They spent many great seasons together in Atlanta. Dallas could also use another linebacker to play next to Leighton Vander Esch, giving Micah Parsons more opportunities to play on the edge, where he is more valuable.
The Cowboys are also among the few teams with enough cap space to afford Jones. They currently sit with just over $20 million in cap space.
Jones isn’t the player he once was but still tallied a more than respectable 87 tackles, eight tackles for loss, and two sacks in 2021. The Falcons bolstered the position by drafting Troy Andersen and signing Rashaan Evans and Nick Kwiatowski, so they’re in a position to part ways with Jones.
Obviously, this is all speculative, but the deal makes sense for both sides. The Falcons would love to get his contract off the books, even if it is for a sixth-round pick. Atlanta is clearly rebuilding, and Dallas is aiming for a Super Bowl. I wouldn’t be shocked if the Falcons parted ways with Deion Jones one way or another when he’s healthy if they can’t find a trade partner.