It didn’t seem like it a couple of months ago, but it’s turning out like the Atlanta Falcons’ offseason plans are going to be one of the most compelling in the NFL this offseason. A team that looked content to run it back with largely the same team in the NFC South now looks like it will shake things up. Rampant rumors of a Julio Jones trade have wrestled away storylines in recent weeks, and a departure from the only team he’s ever known would send shockwaves throughout the league.
Potential Julio Jones trades
Handicapping Jones’ trade destination market is a little bit of a challenge at the current time, as most NFL teams have allocated most of their cap space this late in the offseason. Jones is set to earn over $23 million this season, followed by over $19 million in 2022 and 2023. With that said, let’s take a look at three teams who might be willing to acquire the seven time Pro Bowler at his hefty cost.
There has been a lot of smoke surrounding Jones and his reported desire to be traded to the New England Patriots. We’ll find out soon enough whether there’s fire behind all this, but this potential transaction does make a lot of sense for both teams. Jones was denied his only chance to win a Super Bowl by the Patriots, and would likely feel rejuvenated landing with a team whose coaching staff is lauded as one of the best in the NFL.
When Atlanta says no to Julio Jones for N’Keal Harry and two 6th round picks pic.twitter.com/EAN8caa731
— Boston Diehards (@Boston_Diehards) May 25, 2021
The Falcons have dealt with questionable coaching decisions for the majority of Jones’ career in Atlanta, and this would serve as a refreshing change of pace.
The Patriots would also welcome someone of Jones’ talent with open arms. Their receiving corps was one of the worst in the NFL last season. Despite taking fliers on free agent wide receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne, New England still doesn’t have the firepower on the outside to compete with Kansas City or Buffalo. Adding Julio Jones into the mix, whether it’s for Cam Newton or Mac Jones, will allow the aforementioned free agent signings to see single coverage.
While it is somewhat unlikely that Jones would want to end up in a rebuilding situation, it would seem at least possible that the New York Jets could emerge as a viable landing spot for the two time All Pro.
Best fit for Julio Jones: New England or Tennesse? pic.twitter.com/g2pM3VMUof
— PFF (@PFF) May 25, 2021
The Jets have been looking for a spark to invigorate their franchise for quite some time, and have completely reshuffled the deck this offseason. New head coach Robert Saleh and rookie quarterback Zach Wilson are hoping to breathe new life into the franchise, and an acquisition of one of the game’s best wide receivers would generate a ton of excitement.
Due to some recent trades, the Jets have a nice stable of attractive draft picks coming up. They also have young wide receiver Denzel Mims, whom they selected in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Sending Mims and one of their picks to the Falcons might be attractive enough to Atlanta to have them pull the trigger.
If there’s any coach in the NFL who is familiar with how much of an impact Jones can make on the field, it is Washington Football team head man Ron Rivera.
Rivera squared off with Jones’ Falcons a total of 18 times during his nine year run as head coach of the Carolina Panthers.
If there’s any team looking to help close the gap between one side of the ball and the other, it’s also Washington. The team features a menacing defensive line that will make life difficult for opposing teams. Washington is hopeful the offense can be more effective in 2021 to make them a real threat in the NFC.
Washington is in an advantageous spot salary cap wise, because they aren’t paying an exorbitant amount of money to veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback. They also aren’t yet on the hook for large sums of money with their young and ferocious defensive line. This would be the time to absorb an expensive impact player like Jones in hopes of winning a second straight NFC East division crown.