Cap-strapped Falcons need assistance, however do not count on them to commerce Julio Jones for something lower than 2nd-rounder


The Atlanta Falcons will very doubtless commerce the franchise’s best broad receiver, however it might not be quickly and it actually will not be for nothing.

No group has made the Falcons a respectable commerce provide for Julio Jones, sources inform me, which suggests there is not any chief within the clubhouse on the place he may land. And I would be floored if Atlanta dealt him away for something lower than a second-round decide. It could take a second-round decide plus one thing as a way to get the deal achieved.

Atlanta, although, will not take scraps. Dealing Jones for a 2022 third-round decide would not be within the group’s greatest curiosity — each within the quick or long run. If a commerce companion would not emerge by coaching camp, I consider the Falcons will grudgingly rework Jones’ contract to maneuver cash round and take care of this identical situation subsequent offseason.

Dealing Jones could be a post-June 1 transaction that may be agreed to at any level after which executed on or after that date. Solely 1 / 4 of NFL groups at present have the cap area to tackle his $15.3 million in assured cash, although any group motivated sufficient to commerce for among the best receivers of the 2000s could be keen to seek out the mandatory area.

After remodeling the offers for youthful guys like Deion Jones and Jake Matthews, after which restructuring Matt Ryan‘s contract when it was untradeable, the Falcons had been confronted with redoing Grady Jarrett‘s deal and/or dealing Jones to treatment cap points purchased on by the COVID-19-related cap dip and the earlier regime seeking to lengthen a title window.

Jones signed a three-year, $66 million extension with the Falcons simply earlier than the 2019 season. He obtained $64 million of that assured in what was clearly a win for Jones and his agent, Jimmy Sexton. Within the 5 years earlier than touchdown that $66 million extension, Jones had performed in all 16 video games in three of these seasons and missed a complete of simply three video games. He was, and nonetheless is, the NFL‘s all-time chief in receiving yards per recreation. And the Falcons believed they had been effectively inside their championship window regardless of stumbling to a 7-9 file in 2018.

However the wheels fell off for the group in 2019, and the 2020 patchwork job made it 5 video games earlier than Arthur Clean fired each Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff. Jones’ historic manufacturing slipped ever so barely in 2019 after which fell off final season when he missed seven video games.

Extending championship home windows by giving massive assured salaries and restructuring present offers works once you’re within the hunt for a Lombardi. The Saints got here away from this final half-decade with out a trophy however the concept was sound. The invoice all the time comes due, and also you hope to have some {hardware} to indicate for it when it does. The Falcons don’t, and with lower than 1,000,000 {dollars} in cap area, they need assistance.

There appeared to be a burst of curiosity in a possible Jones commerce final week, however it now seems to be extra media-driven than something tangible. We’re all in want of one thing to speak about now that the Aaron Rodgers‘ drama has subsided for a couple of days and NFLPA negotiations on OTAs aren’t all that thrilling. Since no affords have been made, it will simply be educated hypothesis on the place Jones lands, as a result of I do consider he’ll in the end be traded.

I may see the 49ers, Broncos, Packers and Patriots all being touchdown spots. The primary two groups have the cap area, and Denver may make a Lakers-like transfer to safe Jones because it continues its pursuit of Rodgers. Equally, if the Packers are as boombox-outside-the-window determined to please Rodgers as they make it appear, they might clear up the area to usher in Jones. And, after all, the Patriots may open up their wallets as soon as extra.

I would be shocked if this ended with Jones anyplace however a contender. Not solely is he among the best and most beloved Falcons of all time, however his agent additionally represents head coach Arthur Smith. I am instructed there is a regular stream of dialog amongst all events, so nobody has been blindsided by any information over the previous month nor will they be as soon as commerce affords actually start to percolate.  

If not for the cap crunch led to on account of COVID-related monetary points, I consider Jones would undoubtedly be a Falcon in 2021. However Atlanta has to seek out some cash someplace, and I guess a contender will finally see sufficient mileage left on Jones to surrender a second-rounder inside the subsequent two months.



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