Now that it’s June 1, the Atlanta Falcons should have no problems finding suitors for star wide receiver Julio Jones.
The 2021 NFL offseason has been dominated by the Atlanta Falcons and Julio Jones. A breakup seems inevitable. Jones is unquestionably the top receiver in Falcons history, but things appear to be trending towards a separation.
One reason a trade hasn’t happened yet is that the NFL salary cap makes it hard for trades to happen. The team that trades a player has to be responsible for at least part of that player’s salary and cap hit. Just a few months ago, the Philadelphia Eagles had to swallow a $33.8 million dead cap hit for trading quarterback Carson Wentz.
But now that it’s past June 1, things are about to get much easier as far as trading Jones. Since trading him would be designated as a post-June 1 move, the Falcons would save $15.3 million of cap space if they trade him.
There’s still the issue of Jones potentially wanting a new deal if he’s traded as well as the draft pick and player compensation involved. However, Jones is an elite receiver, so that probably won’t scare off as many teams as you might think. At this point, it would be surprising if Jones returns to the Falcons. It’s hard to walk back from saying this on national television.
Jones and the Falcons have had a lot of fun together. But it’s painfully clear both sides need to move on.
Which teams would make the most sense for Julio Jones?
It wouldn’t make sense for a non-contender to trade for Jones. So let’s strictly look at contenders. The Seattle Seahawks and the Tennessee Titans have both been linked to Jones in recent days. However, the Falcons likely don’t want to trade Jones within the NFC, so you can probably count the Seahawks out unless they make an offer the Falcons can’t refuse.
Keep an eye on the Baltimore Ravens. Not only have they been tied to the gifted receiver, but they’re also a bit desperate. They have to do something to cement themselves as Super Bowl contenders. Acquiring Jones would accomplish that and help close the gap between the Ravens and the upper-tier contenders, such as the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills.