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NFL Insider On Why Julio Jones Wants Trade From Falcons

A closeup of Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones with his helmet off.

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 16: Julio Jones #11 of the Atlanta Falcons warms up prior to the game against the Carolina Panthers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on September 16, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

Julio Jones and the Atlanta Falcons are heading for a breakup. One lingering question: which side made the first move here?

According to ESPN's Dianna Russini, it sounds like the Atlanta Falcons were the first side to act ahead of this coming deal. Given the team's salary cap situation, that isn't surprising. If the team can trade Jones after June 1, it will save over $15 million against the cap.

For the Falcons, that is absolutely crucial this year. The team has just over $300,000 in space right now, not enough to even sign the 2021 draft class. While there are other players that could be moved as well, or instead of Julio Jones, he's been mentioned as the likely move for months. That doesn't mean that he's thrilled with how things played out here. The fact that he was being shopped may be a reason why Jones so aggressively wants out now.

Russini appeared on the Rich Eisen Show on Thursday to discuss how things played out. She says that from what she's heard, the Falcons started shopping Jones back in March, before his request.

"We can probably split hairs on what really went down. Was Julio asking for a trade first or was it the Falcons open to trading him? The way I gathered the information since I started hearing about this a few months, it was Atlanta open to trading and then Julio found out about it," Russini said. The New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans are the two teams most heavily connected to Julio Jones at this point. Tennessee has multiple star players publicly stumping for the team to add him, including running back Derrick Henry and wide receiver A.J. Brown, who would make up one of the NFL's most dangerous duos with Jones if the team pulls off the move. Right now, the asking price is at least a first-round pick, and at least one team has made that kind of offer so far, according to Russini. We could see a move as soon as next week. [

When should we expect a Julio Jones trade? And do the #Falcons already have an offer on the table?@diannaESPN joined us earlier Thursday for the latest in the #NFL story du jour:

— Rich Eisen Show (@RichEisenShow) May 27, 2021

">Rich Eisen Show]