The Atlanta Falcons are reportedly interested in making a deal to trade away their longtime standout wide receiver Julio Jones.
Jeff Schultz of The Athletic indicated that two of the chief reasons why Jones may be dealt after 10 seasons with the Falcons are because of the franchise’s new leadership as well as salary cap concerns.
“The Falcons would like to trade Julio Jones,” Schultz wrote. “That doesn’t mean it’s 100 percent that it’s going to happen. That doesn’t mean some members of the organization don’t believe the future Hall of Famer can still play, when healthy. But Jones’ availability on the trade market has been clear almost from the time new general manager Terry Fontenot and coach Arthur Smith landed in Atlanta and realized the extent of the team’s salary-cap problems. Anybody who wants to deny that likely is doing so out of mere fandom.”
In his 10 seasons with the Falcons, Jones has caught 848 passes for 12,896 yards and 60 touchdowns, numbers that at least put him in the conversation for a bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
However, Jones is now 32 and played in only nine games last season. That limited his production to 51 receptions and just three touchdowns.
Schultz pointed out that because money within the Falcons’ salary cap currently isn’t available, either a restructuring of Jones’ contract or a trade appear to be the only options available.
“If Jones isn’t restructured, that leaves a trade as the lone option,” Schultz wrote. “If the Falcons trade Jones post-June, they would carry a dead-cap hit of only $7.75 million, thereby saving $15.3 million in space. A trade remains the most logical scenario.”
Exactly what the Falcons could get for an aging player remains a question mark. However, it appears increasingly likely that Jones will be wearing a new uniform by the time the 2021 season kicks off in September.