Many around the Green Bay Packers have been hoping the team would bolster its receiving corps, and give Aaron Rodgers another top flight weapon next to Davante Adams. In a few weeks, one may become available: Atlanta Falcons star Julio Jones.
The team has been pretty honest about the possibility of trading Jones. After June 1, the move would save the Falcons significant salary cap room. The team is right up against the cap right now, as it works to sign NFL Draft picks and set the roster for training camp.
The Packers don't have a ton of cap space either. However, they have a much more pressing issue at hand: making Aaron Rodgers happy.
After weeks of speculation that the relationship looked pretty broken, ESPN's Dan Graziano gave Packers fans some optimistic news yesterday, saying that things had "quieted down" recently and that the two sides were having some contract talks. On top of a new deal showing a firm commitment to him as the quarterback of the future, making a big splash with a deal for Julio Jones could certainly help win Rodgers over. ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio floated that idea this afternoon.
As he says, there is no team that stands above the rest as a top option for a Jones trade. The Packers have a tight salary cap situation, and would probably have to get creative to make the situation work, but it could certainly be worth it if the deal is not over the top and it can help convince Rodgers to stay in the fold.
To date, few if any reports have emerged regarding teams looking to trade for Jones. The most intriguing option could be the Packers. Yes, they’re pressed against the cap. But if they can get the Falcons to pay roughly $5 million of the Jones salary and present the possibility to quarterback Aaron Rodgers along with a contract that includes significant guarantees and a no-trade clause, would that be enough to un-burn the bridge?
The Packers likely would need to perform other salary-cap prestidigitation in order to make it all work. (A Davante Adams restructuring would be the easiest way to do it, given an eight-figure salary that can be converted to a signing bonus.)
There is reason for teams to be concerned about Julio Jones. He is coming off of a season in which he missed seven games, and he is 32 years old. He was pretty productive when he did play though, going for 771 yards and three touchdowns, with a 15.1 yards per reception mark that was his best since 2017. And a physically dominant receiver like Julio, who doesn't solely rely on his blazing speed, may age more gracefully than other top receivers.
Putting him alongside Adams, who may be the best receiver in football right now, and adding a major weapon to the best offense in football from a year ago is a scary notion. This would not be a very Packers-like move, but there's no reason they shouldn't at least entertain it.
In new odds released today, the Packers were at +900 to trade for Julio Jones. The Baltimore Ravens are considered the favorites at +275.