NFL trade rumors: Falcons listening to offers for Julio Jones

The Atlanta Falcons could potentially trade wide receiver Julio Jones this offseason.

It seems like every offseason the Atlanta Falcons are fielding calls for wide receiver Julio Jones.

The MMQB’s Albert Breer reports he would not be shocked if Jones is dealt at some point this offseason. Atlanta is in a bad situation up against the salary cap and would not be able to sign all of its draft class. Jones has been on and off the trading block for the better part of three years. How much should we buy into the latest rumors of the Falcons’ greatest player ever being traded?

Is there any validity to this or is it a smoke screen made by Atlanta ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft?

Atlanta Falcons: Will the Dirty Birds trade Julio Jones this offseason?

What is important to understand is the Falcons have already re-worked three of their top eight players’ contracts: Linebacker Deion Jones, left tackle Jake Matthews and quarterback Matt Ryan. Julio Jones has always made it a point to be one of the highest paid players at his position group. While he is an unquestioned first-ball hall of famer, he is coming off an injury-plagued season.

Atlanta has an emerging star receiver in Calvin Ridley. The Dirty Birds are likely to take Florida phenom tight end Kyle Pitts at No. 4 if they cannot orchestrate a trade back on Thursday. While they do need a running back, Russell Gage and tight end Hayden Hurst make up a strong receiving corps for first-year head coach Arthur Smith, who cut his teeth with the Tennessee Titans.

Overall, this feels like Smith and new general manager Terry Fontenot doing their due diligence to field calls on teams who could be in on Jones. Keep in mind that Jones was supposedly on the trading block last year in Atlanta’s disastrous 4-12 campaign that led to former head coach Dan Quinn and former general manager Thomas Dimitroff’s early-season terminations. He stayed put.

Ultimately, it comes across as the same teams who were interested in Jones are reaching out to the new Falcons brass to see if they will bite on the parting ways with the greatest player in franchise history. Frankly, it serves Atlanta to leak to the media that the Falcons are fielding calls for Jones, regardless of if they are interested in trading him or not. They could be up to something.

Don’t be surprised if the Falcons are creating a diversion to gain leverage heading into draft night.

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