What started as speculation earlier this offseason seemingly grew into something much more on Monday.
During a live phone conversation with FS1 Undisputed host Shannon Sharpe, superstar wide receiver Julio Jones said “I’m out of there” in reference to his longtime Falcons franchise. The two-time All Pro added that he hopes to join a title contender in 2021 after a full decade with Atlanta.
Just as they have been all offseason, Falcons higher-ups continued to be tight-lipped regarding the developing Jones trade situation. Taking the mic during a videoconference with reporters on Tuesday, head coach Arthur Smith danced around the all-consuming subject.
Smith wouldn’t say if Jones has requested a trade and refused to comment on a potential trade situation.
“[Players] should speak for themselves,” he said, per Falcons insider Zach Klein. “I’m not going to comment, it doesn’t change anything for us. We understand what our plan is moving forward. We have multiple private conversations with our players and those are conversations that are going to stay private on my end. I’m not going to sit here and comment on any potential roster moves that we may or may not make.”
Falcons HC Arthur Smith on Julio Jones… pic.twitter.com/oXsJYHVQlX
— Zach Klein (@ZachKleinWSB) May 25, 2021
With limited cap space coming of the 2020 COVID-19 season, the Falcons will have to do some serious shifting if they want get under the salary cap before training camp this summer. The easiest way to accomplish this would be by trading Jones in a post-June 1 move.
Smith acknowledged the cap issues, but wouldn’t go into how the franchise plans to solve them.
“Anytime you’re in this business, you’ve got to have multiple plans,” Smith said, per ESPN. “We understand what our cap situation is and we have multiple plans before we get into training camp.”