The Atlanta Falcons should trade Julio Jones, even if it hurts your feelings

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Julio Jones is one of the most beloved and successful players in Atlanta sports history. There’s a good reason for that, as the All-Pro wide receiver has amassed an incredible career that has proved to everyone he is one of the best to ever strap it up. From recording six straight seasons with over 1,000 receiving yards to making some of the most mesmerizing catches in football history, Jones has cemented a legacy that few can rival. Here’s why the Falcons should trade him:

Before the eye-rolls poor in, the prospect of trading Jones really shouldn’t be brushed off. While the nine-year veteran has always excelled on the field, his ability to remain healthy has been a hindrance. Jones has started a full 16 games just three times during his tenure with Atlanta. Moreover, the six-foot-four, 220-pound receiver has suffered injuries in almost every single season he’s played, including 13 injuries to his right foot alone. Even when Jones is on the field, he is almost never near 100% healthy, creating a rising level of concern for his on-field usage. Simply put, he is undoubtedly the best receiver the Falcons have ever had but is exceptionally prone to injury as well.

At the age of 32, Jones is entering an uphill battle going forward. If Atlanta fans are being honest with themselves, things are unlikely to improve in this area. At some point, the team has to consider the value Jones brings to the table versus his current market value.

So what should the Falcons do? Jones is currently locked into a hefty $66 million contract with the team throughout 2023. A trade would not only relieve Atlanta of future cap space, but it would also bring in a slew of picks and or players. If Atlanta utilizes Jones’ demand in the current market, they could very well acquire a younger, healthier, and extremely talented group of players that would bolster the team’s future, which should be a primary focus this offseason.

The possible landing destinations for Jones are quite bountiful. It would take an entire article just to look at who would be interested and what would be exchanged, but he would be one of the most prominent players in the open market right now. But that is the catch — right now. After several more miles and injuries, which are bound to happen, Jones’ value will only keep declining over the next couple of years. 

In reality, it doesn’t look like the Falcons will trade Julio Jones this year; the most recent reports suggest that they haven’t had any discussions with teams regarding him or Ryan. However, Fontenot has also made it clear that he will leave no stone unturned. Brushing off the very idea of acquiring a slew of future players and draft picks for Jones in the near future is a futile pursuit of fan happiness. Every Falcons fan loves Jones, perhaps so much so that the very logical idea of getting everything they can for the player has dissipated.

At the end of the day, Atlanta will soon be without Jones. Even if he somehow extends his career for three to four seasons, the future success of this organization likely does not include him. So now is the time to start thinking about tomorrow, to start understanding that the emotional ties to Jones can be unrealistic. It’s always hard to consider losing a generational player, yet Falcons fans must face the music — time is not on Jones’ side.

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