Julio Jones rumors: Falcons might take even less than first-round pick

The Atlanta Falcons seem to be embracing the reality of what they’ll get for Julio Jones, with a first-round pick no longer required?

Combined his age and his contract, apart from his talent, and it’s a fairly narrow group of teams who can viably swing a trade for wide receiver Julio Jones. According to Peter King of NBC Sports, the Atlanta Falcons are looking for a deal that will allow them to unload all of the $38 million he’s owed in base salary over the next three seasons.

“I was told a while ago by a source I trust that the Falcons would accept a hard second-round pick in 2022 (no condition on Jones’ playing time) with no responsibility to pay Jones any of the $38 million he has coming,” King wrote.

ESPN’s Dianna Russini reported last week at least one team had offered a 2022 first-round pick to the Falcons for Jones. But as King cited, if that deal was on the table they would have taken it pending an announcement after June 1, when the cap implications soften for Atlanta.

The Falcons are facing the reality of what they’ll get for Julio Jones

Beyond having the cap space to take on Jones’ salary for this year, the team that acquires him may be confronted with having to give him a new contract right away.  An average annual value of $12.775 million over the next three seasons looks like a bargain, given Jones’ resume. If he has a typical healthy season for said new team in 2021, despite that Jones would then be approaching his 33rd birthday, the contract adjustment might get a little more expensive.

So the Falcons would love to get a first-round pick for Jones. But a “hard” second-round pick, as King described it (no conditions on Jones’ playing time, etc.) looks more realistic, especially if they want to relieve themselves of his entire remaining contract.

So if it wasn’t before, the door is open for teams who don’t have a 2022 first-round pick (or don’t want to trade one) to make an offer for Jones the Falcons might take. In any case, the plot continues to thicken as June 1 looms.

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