The Atlanta Falcons released a new schedule wallpaper with a very notable absence. Julio Jones, the subject of trade rumors, is nowhere to be found.
Will Julio Jones still be in Atlanta when the 2021 season begins?
If you’re looking to read the tea leaves, the Atlanta Falcons dropped a hint in their phone wallpaper with the newly released 2021 schedule.
Jones is not one of the players featured.
Is this reading too deeply into things? Probably. The graphics people employed by the Falcons certainly aren’t the ones deciding who does or doesn’t get traded. That’s way above their pay grade.
Having acknowledged that, it’s not nothing.
Julio Jones’ future with the Falcons is uncertain
If Jones were unquestionably part of the Falcons’ plans for 2021, he’d be on that poster. Not just that, he’d be front and center.
The fact that he’s not is just a reflection of the uncertainty of his future with the team. It’s not definitive proof he’ll be gone; it’s a response to the possibility.
The idea of the Falcons trading Jones has been out there for a while. Arthur Smith hasn’t exactly shut down those rumors.
When your head coach says things like “the cap is what is it” when discussing the prospect of a trade, that means something too.
Peter King of NBC Sports called it a 60-40 chance of Jones being traded by Labor Day.
If that did happen, you could see why the Falcons graphic designer wouldn’t want to have to deal with the embarrassment of Jones being on that schedule wallpaper.
Is that the right move for the Falcons? That’s the big question.
Cap space is a factor and Atlanta could certainly get some valuable assets for the seven-time Pro Bowler.
On the flip side, Jones is a dangerous target that any offensive coordinator would relish having at their disposal. If Smith’s goal is to win now, it would be hard to let go of the ability to challenge defenses with Kyle Pitts, Calvin Ridley and Jones.