How does Falcons placing Deion Jones on PUP list affect trade speculation?

Falcons Jones

The Falcons will enter the 2022 season with only one player on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list — Deion Jones.

 

The former LSU Tiger recently underwent shoulder surgery and hasn’t participated in any offseason activities. Jones can be activated anytime during training camp and the preseason but cannot be cut or traded while on the PUP list. However, once activated, it’s fair game.

The decline in play has prompted many to speculate about Jones’ future in Atlanta; after all, Terry Fontenot has cleaned house and ridded the team’s salary cap of nearly every bloated contract from the old regime. Jones’ $20 million cap hit is the highest on the team and the highest among all linebackers for 2022, but the injury certainly complicates the prospect of Atlanta trading him.

The Falcons would have to find a suitor to take on his $13.64 million guaranteed salary for 2022, which has become increasingly difficult given his injury status. It would be a long shot for a team to take on that massive contract to get a player who might not even be healthy for Week 1. Obviously, that is speculation, and the only tangible reports we can go off are that he’ll at least miss significant time.

According to OverTheCap, cutting Jones would create nearly $19 million in dead money with a savings of $1.07 million this season, but the advantage would be that he’s 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 this year, which is 40% of the total cap.

Obviously, that isn’t the ideal scenario; it’s a ton more dead money for a team that is already setting records in that area. They’d trade him with a June 1st designation if it were the Falcons’ preference. 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. However, they might not have that choice and could elect to just part ways with the once-electric Jones.

Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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