On Thursday morning, trade buzz around Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones began anew. After Jeff Schultz of The Athletic reported that Atlanta “would like to” trade the 32-year-old, fans desperately tried to figure out which organizations would be willing to strike a deal.
The Falcons still find themselves in a precarious situation with the salary cap, despite making various moves this offseason to try and remedy the issue. Jones will levy a massive cap hit in 2020 meaning that whatever team he plays for in 2021 will need to be prepared to pay the price.
Schultz revealed that the Falcons are hoping to create a market for Jones, so that they can get get the maximum return. He also named six teams that might be interested in making a move for the reliable veteran wide receiver: the Baltimore Ravens, the Indianapolis Colts, the Los Angeles Chargers, the New England Patriots, the Tennessee Titans and the San Francisco 49ers.
Here’s more from Schultz on the metrics that prospective teams must meet to execute a deal for Jones:
“Many teams would like Jones on their roster, but not many realistically can trade for him. The Falcons’ hope is that enough teams (think: three to five) express interest to create a market. Think of 1) teams with enough cap space to absorb Jones’ $15.3 million base salary; 2) contending teams that believe he would put them over the top; 3) young teams looking to take the next step. Among the teams that could fall into these categories: Ravens, 49ers, Patriots, Colts and Chargers. One league source said the Titans also may show interest, but they also are close to the cap ceiling.”
Comment what team would be most dangerous with Julio ⏬
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) May 20, 2021
For several weeks it has been known the Falcons will explore a trade with Julio Jones. It's time to clear up some misconceptions about why this is happening. @TheAthletic.
(New subscribers: get in for $1.)https://t.co/cHVfmPTg6R
— Jeff Schultz (@JeffSchultzATL) May 20, 2021
A few of the teams, like the Ravens, Titans and Colts, should be right in the mix in the AFC next year. Jones could be the type of offensive weapon needed to boost each team’s pass attack throughout the year. The Patriots, Chargers and 49ers might be a bit further away from contending, but could all use a top wide receiver to aid their young quarterbacks.
Although he’s started to show his age with the Falcons over the last two season, Jones still remains one of the most reliable pass-catchers in the game. During his career in Atlanta, he has 848 receptions for 12,896 yards and 60 touchdowns.
Atlanta will need to make a tough decision in the near future on Jones. Regardless of what they decide, he’ll forever be remembered as a Falcons great.