In all likelihood, Julio Jones will have a new NFL home when the 2021 season rolls around. He wants off of the Atlanta Falcons, and the Falcons need to make a big move like a Jones trade to get out of a serious salary cap crunch.
Right now, the biggest sticking point for the team is a return. Jones is coming off of a season in which he missed seven games, but he was still productive, and has been one of the best, most consistent wide receivers in the NFL over the last decade. The team hopes to land a first-round pick for him, which some teams reportedly think is too steep a price to pay.
Eventually, a deal will probably be made somewhere. A number of Tennessee Titans have publicly stumped for the team to trade for Jones. They’re not alone, he’s one of the most respected playmakers in the league.
It is unclear how much say Jones will have over his trade destination, but he has some pretty understandable desires for wherever it may be. 1.) He wants to be traded to a contender, as most aging stars do. 2.) He wants a “big-armed quarterback that can deliver the deep ball,” according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
If traded, Julio Jones wants to go to a contender, as most big-name players want, but one other thing I've heard intrigues: A big-armed QB that can deliver the deep ball. Jones wants to outrun DBs and get underneath the ball.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) June 5, 2021
Neither of these is particularly surprising. The question is how many teams that can conceivably trade for Jones match both of his criteria. Is Ryan Tannehill, who has been a bit of a revelation over the last few seasons, the type of “big-armed QB” described there? Would Julio be thrilled in a Derrick Henry-dominated, run-first offense?
The Kansas City Chiefs have popped up in rumors, which is horrifying for the rest of the league. No one has a bigger, more accurate arm than Patrick Mahomes.
Would adding Julio Jones help convince reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers, who has been looking for receiver help across from Davante Adams, stay with the Green Bay Packers? Some have floated that idea as well.
Most of the teams adding an aging Julio Jones are probably in win-now mode, and as a result, probably have a pretty good quarterback situation, so this may all work itself out naturally in the end.