After months of speculation, the Falcons finally traded former Pro Bowl linebacker Deion Jones. The former LSU Tiger lands with the Browns in exchange for late-round draft compensation, according to Ian Rapoport.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 10, 2022
As Rapoport notes, because Jones’ contract was restructured before the season, his base salary was just over $1M for 2022, which is what Cleveland inherits. At the time, it seemed the only reason Atlanta would rework his deal was to make him more attractive to prospective teams, and it’s come to fruition.
After being one of the top players at his position a couple of years ago, Debo’s production has completely fallen off a cliff in recent seasons. There were also some concerns about his attitude and leadership qualities this offseason; Jeff Schultz of The Athletic reported that the club had tried and failed in their attempts to trade Jones earlier in the offseason.
With a cap hit north of $20 million, sitting Jones was a tough pill to swallow, but it just goes to show how serious this regime is about the culture within the building. Rashaan Evans and Mykal Walker have assumed the starting duties in Atlanta, and the financial ramifications of parting ways with Jones justified trading him. According to OverTheCap, the Falcons will have dead cap hits of just over $7 million for 2022 and 2023, then $1.7 million for the next three seasons.
Deion Jones is only 27 years old. A change of scenery could do wonders for him. 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. 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 place to part ways with him.